She didn't know why she was there. She tried to stop herself from coming, but it was as if her legs moved on their own. Fear can be very convincing sometimes, and this time, she couldn't stop herself.
Hinata quietly stood in front of Neji's door. With great hesitation, she slowly slid it open halfway. Only to stare at him laying peacefully on his futon for several minutes, she decided it really was a bad idea and didn't want to disturb his sleep for something as selfish as a nightmare. He probably wouldn't care anyway... So why was she going to him?
She turned on her heel to walk away but just as she was about to close the door-
"-Hinata-sama?" A familiar voice called from the dark room. Neji had sat up from his floor futon. "What are you doing up this late? Is something wrong?" He spoke out to her in his deep bland tone.
Hinata froze and turned to her cousin, fiddling with her fingers nervously. "N-No... I'm sorry,... D-did I wake you?" She stuttered in her speech, feeling concerned that she woke him.
"No. To be honest, I heard you opening my door. It took me a minute to realize that it was you." Getting comfortable in his place, he continued to question her. "I'm surprised you came here. And at night of all times. Can I ask why?"
Hinata put a finger to her lip nervously and looked around the room, trying to think of a excuse. "I-I just couldn't sleep is all... I-I'm alright. R-really." She pulls on her black t-shirt, trying to calm herself down.
Neji didn't believe her for one second. He recognized the body language coming from her. It was obvious that she was uneasy, of course she always was shy, by that was a little more shy than usual. He wanted to keep asking her what was wrong, but then again that might be a bad idea. She's frail, and shouldn't be pushed to answer if she doesn't want too.
Even so he couldn't help but be concerned. In the dark of the night, he pulled off using his byakugan to study her deeper. Of course he couldn't figure out what was wrong just with that, but he did come up with a theory after what he saw in her.
"Did you have a nightmare?" He asked her simply. Hinata jumped and pulled on her shirt even more.
"It was nothing... I'll get over it soon." She looked up at Neji as he patted the floor next to him. Hinata was going to walk over to sit down, but then stopped. She didn't want to trouble him any further than she already had.
"If it's about me hurting you, I won't do that-"
"T-that's not it...!" Hinata interrupted him.
"Then..." Neji motioned again for her to sit next to him. This time, she actually came over and sat down formally.
"So tell me what your nightmare was about." He said plainly without a hint of concern in his voice, though on the inside he was. Hinata shook her head slightly and didn't respond. Neji sighed. "That bad, huh?" He relaxed on his arms.
"Hm? What is it?" They sat there in silence. Neji was surprised that she was about to tell him anything. Even more surprised that she came to him and not someone else. Ever since Neji realized what he had done to her emotionally and physically, he's been trying to make up for it and protect her like he was suppose too. But secretly on the inside, his feelings for her began to grow stronger and stronger. To the point where if he simply touched her hand, he couldn't think straight.
But he wouldn't ever admit it.
"I just didn't want to be alone..." She says quietly, burying her face in her knees. "C-can I hold onto your sleeve...?" She mumbled, hoping he wouldn't hear it.
Unfortunately he did and his heart skipped inside of him because of it. "S-sure... Whatever will make you feel better."
Hinata turned her head on her knees slightly and stared at his arm. She grabbed onto it with her small hands, trying to hold back the tears from her overwhelming fear. She turned her head back, her grasp on his white haori sleeve getting tighter.
After sitting together in silence for a couple of minutes, Neji had a suggestion he knew he was going to get in trouble for, but he couldn't seem to keep it to himself. "Hi-Hinata-sama... If you'd like, you could sleep in here with me..." He looked at his knees, glad that the dark was hiding his flushed cheeks.
Hinata jumped and let go of his sleeve. She didn't think anything bad of it since they were cousins, but she was still nervous for some reason. She felt as if it was wrong, and that she could get scolded by her father if he found out. But she couldn't stand the thought of being alone.
Neji snapped out of his daydream, coming to a realization of what he just offered her. "Ah- N-nevermind. You can just forget what I sai-"
"No..." Hinata turned her head back to him again as her voice quivered in fear, and embarrassment. "Can I, Neji nii-sama..?"
Neji felt his heart about to burst. What had he gotten himself into? The offer he made was obviously out of character for him, and disrespectful to Hinata, but the way her voice reached out to him in plea, he couldn't ignore it. "Get on the other side..." He said moving over just enough for her to fit. The futon was small, but could still cramp two people in it. Hinata happily climbed over on the other side, facing her back to him.
"Thank you..." She snuggled up in the blanket. "I'm not taking up too much space, am I?"
"No, you fit perfectly." Neji also laid down with his back facing her. Just as he was about to close his eyes and fall into his own racing thoughts, he was forced to open them again by hearing Hinata's sweet voice.
"Can... Can we hold hands...?"
Neji froze over like a block of ice. This was all getting to be overwhelming for him, but he wouldn't show it. He steadied his voice before giving his answer. "Alright." He felt butterflies in his stomach after hearing a soft; happy chuckle escape her lips. They found each others hands and slowly intertwined them.
"Is that better?"
"Yes, thank you... So much." But she still felt restless. Hinata hoped if she came to him about it, then she wouldn't be as scared of him anymore, but she was also scared if she told him her nightmare, he would get mad again.
But she had to tell him. She had to clear the fog between them and finally build of their relationship. She didn't want her flesh and blood to rot. She would do anything to fix their bond. Even if it means telling him her nightmare. "Neji nii-sama...?"
"What is it this time...?" He responded softly.
"I want to tell you about my nightmare..." Hinata squeezed his hand tighter. "Promise you won't get mad...?"
Neji took in a silent deep breath, giving himself a second to mentally prepair himself for what he was about to hear. "Go ahead."
"It was about you..." Her hand began to shake in his.
Neji prepared himself for this. And he knew he had it coming to him. But even so, why couldn't he stop this pain in his chest? The prodigy, Neji Hyuuga was actually unable to figure out what was going on, for once.
"You-you hated me so much. You tried so hard to get revenge on me. You even poisoned father against me... Along with Hanabi. It got to the point because I was so weak, my body became crippled and thin. Our family that now hated me, threw me on the floor and beat me as I slowly deteriorated. And after I died, I watched you from the sky being given the right to become heir to the Hyuuga clan."
Neji's throat tightened up. He may have felt so in the past, but he realized he was wrong now. He knew he couldn't change his actions, and as a result of them, she was getting nightmares about him.
"I... I feel really weak sometimes. All I want is to become stronger. But it's as if I can't. Like I have a weight on me. You're so strong Neji nii-san..."
"That's not true." He thought to himself. "Hinata-sama, you have no idea how strong you are."
"-And I really admire you sometimes... Maybe even a lot. I always wished I could be like you."
"And I can also understand why you'd hate me-"
"Hinata-sama!" Neji quickly rolled over and arched himself over her small body. He forearms rested by her head. Staring down at her, he felt as if he couldn't contain himself any longer. Anymore of this conversation would make him go insane and possibly explode from the inside out.
Surprised by the sudden sharp tone coming from him, she turned to look up at his shadowed body. She felt as if she was trapped, and his body that was over her was the cage. More fear came over her. She felt regret for telling him. She should have never said anything from the start.
"-I would never do something like that to you. Not ever again. I-" Her eyes widened at his sudden unexpected words. She could feel herself calming down on the inside. This cage started to feel more like an embrace. "... I could never hate you. If anything, I'm the weak one." He lowered his head to her in shame. "I'm sorry for what I've done to you and-"
Hinata slowly raised her hand to touch the center of his forehead, where the mark of his curse was. She rubbed it gently with her fingertips. "It's beautiful-" Realizing what she was doing, she quickly pulled herself back. "I-I'm sorry."
Neji literally broke. Those simple words meant more to him than anything in the world. He couldn't control himself. How could she think someone like him was admirable? That something like this curse he had was beautiful? His overwhelming passion to embrace her finally took over his entire being. Slowly leaning in towards her, he softly pressed his lips to hers. It was if his body moved on its own. His mind was clear, and he didn't think of anything else but her. His thoughts filling with her adorable face, her fragrance surrounding him, and all of the moments they have shared since their childhood. But...
… Hinata wasn't responding. Did he scare her? Or maybe she's allowing him to kiss her? Pulling himself out of his daze, Neji separates their lips and looks down at her face. Before he can apologize, he notices she had passed out.
"Hinata-sama? Hinata-sama!" She didn't respond. She just lay there limp, and her body heated up. "Weren't you- only like this with Naruto?" Neji said to himself. He gently let his body rest on hers, wrapping his arms around her neck. "Hinata-sama... Will you accept me and let me love you?" Eventually he fell asleep from the emotional exhaustion, as well as his porcelain cousin.
The next morning, Hinata woke up with a white fabric in front of her. Blinking away the haze over her eyes, she looked up to see a sleeping Neji next to her with his arms around her. She also noticed that she snuggled up to him in her sleep! All of her memories from the previous night came back to her all at once. Her cheeks reddened as she tried to wake him up. "N-Neji nii-sama. Neji nii-sama?"
His eyes opened lazily. They went from tired, to completely awake. "Hi-Hinata-sama!" He sat himself up. "Good Morning... Uh- how did you sleep?" He avoided eye contact.
"I slept well..." She fiddled with her fingers again, sitting up next to him. "What about you?"
"Same here." He instantly responded. After a few seconds of awkward silence, he got up. "It's still pretty early. You should head to your room and get dressed before anyone catches you here with me."
"R-right." Hinata gets out from under the covers and walks to his door. Before she slides it open, she turns to him. "Uhm-!"
Neji blushes and looks at her. "What is it?"
Hinata catches his blush like a cold and looks away. "N-nevermind. I'll see you at breakfast...!" She runs out and down the hall to her room. After she got changed and her mind slowed down, she realized what she did. "I should have said thank you to him..." She sighed to herself, holding the tip of her beige hoodie to her lips. "I'll thank him properly... Definitely."
Neji on the other hand wasn't as calm as her. He punched the side of the wall an grunted in annoyance. "What have I done? I'm such an idiot!" He put his now reddened hand to his forehead subconsciously, thinking about her. "Hinata-sama... Don't be so kind to me... I don't know if my heart can take any more of this."
Hinata walked down the hall, finding her way to join her family for breakfast. Coming from the sudden fork in the hallway came Neji. They practically almost ran into each other. They exchanged stares until Neji finally broke it.
"W-what is it?"
"Oh-" She looked away. "It's nothing..."
It became quiet for the umteenth time.
"W-well, shall we go?" Hinata continued down her path.
"Y-yes." Neji walked next to her; the airspace between their arms becoming very awkward.
They both didn't want to forget what happened the previous night. They were cousins, though. It was wrong for family to be doing those types of things with each other. But even so, they couldn't let it go. Hinata was shrouded with concern on how their relationship would be from then on.
"Neji nii-sama. About last night, I just wanted to say thank you..."
"Huh? F-for what?" Neji turned to her in shock and blushed.
"W-well for letting me sleep with you, for holding my hand. And..." She turned and put a hand to her mouth. "F-for kissing me..."
Neji jumped and quickly looked around, then back to her. "Hi-Hinata-sama!" Did she have to say it out loud? What if someone was just around the corner of them?
"Neji nii-sama, I don't want to forget last night." She played with her hands. Neji looked at her with rounded eyes, his face becoming an even deeper shade of red. He couldn't help but stare at her. It was as if she was glistening in the sunlight on her.
"Can we hold hands again...?"
And there was the sudden flop of his heart again. But instead of going about it awkwardly, he decided to let a small smile escape on the outside as he grasped her hand tightly into his. His slight grin stretched a little more once he felt her hold his hand tightly back.
"I understand." He said. "It'll be our little secret."
They may have an unexpected future ahead of them, but even without words, they both continue to walk towards their unknown path together, their love for each other, forever clandestine.