"-Ji nii-sama... Neji nii-sama...?"
Neji opened his eyes lazily to Hinata who was staring down at him with concern. Neji, still being half asleep started seeing sparkles and flowers around her. He just stared at her as he lay there on the hard floor.
"Neji nii-sama... Are you oka-"
The room suddenly went silent. Hinata's face turned beat red as she looked around the area and looked back down at the still half asleep Neji. "W-what is...?"
It took Neji a few seconds to register what he just said. He quickly sat up, clashing foreheads with Hinata at the simultaneously. Hinata turned over and held her head, trying to hold back tiny whimpers of pain. Neji jumped, hoping this morning wouldn't continue to be a total disaster.
"Hinata-sama, I'm really sorry-" He grabbed onto her shoulder apologetically, then retracted his hand, which was now burning from embarrassment. He didn't realize just touching her would have this big of an affect on him! Neji sprinted out of bed and fixed his kimono. "I-I'll go find something for your head. You go ahead and get changed." He was about to take a step outside of the hotel door when Hinata suddenly grabbed his arm, sending a ripple of jitters down his spine and through his arms; rising goosebumps.
"Wait- Neji-nii-sama!" She called in distress.
"W-what is it-?" He stiffy turned his neck towards her without making eye contact.
Hinata spun him around and tied his headband around his forehead. "You forgot this... You don't want to be revealed, do you?"
Neji stood there, mind racing with so many unspeakable thoughts. All of this was going through his mind, yet in reality he couldn't speak a single word, nonetheless move!
'She's... So close to me...' his heart thumped out of his chest. 'Her... Her body- Wait! No no no no! What's the matter with me?'
Hinata saw a plain expression with quivering lips on the outside. She looked at him in concern and went to touch his cheek. "Neji-nii-?"
Neji flinched. "Ah. Sorry. I have to hurry up, you're forehead must hurt after all. Oh wait! Contacts." He walked around her and closed himself in their bathroom so that he could put in the contacts. When in reality, he shut the door and slid down to the floor. His hand was clamped over his mouth. He started an emotional war with himself between denial, and hormonal fluctuations. Neji clenched his chest, trying to calm his frantic mind down. "What's... Wrong with me?"
It was a very awkward trip to the nearby marketplace. Since Hinata and Neji's arms were locked around each other. Neji - or 'Kenjou-san', was trying his best not be stiff in the crowded, windy area. 'Hina-san' was doing just fine though. Smiling and happily leaning on him. Neji wanted to know her secret. He wanted her to teach him to loosen up and not look suspicious in front of strangers and possible shinob-
"Look at this, Kenjou-san!" Hinata yanked Neji by the arm so the both of them were facing a wooden shop. Many sand charms, dream catchers, and tribal masks decorated the walls, tables and hung from the ceiling. Other charms and jewels were also there. Neji wasn't particularly interested in jewels and lucky charms. Even if it was apart of his culture.
But looking down at his cousin and how much she was enjoying looking around, her smile rubbed off on him. He couldn't hold back a smudge of the smirk behind his ego.
"Kenjou-san, look at this necklace." Hinata picked up a string necklace with an oval shaped Zircon in the middle. A silver rim was around it to hold it in place. He picked it up and examined it's beauty thoroughly, almost as if she was attached to it.
'That's Hinata-sama's birthstone, isn't it?' He blinked then smiled again. "Do you want that, Hina-san?"
Hinata snapped out of her accessorizing fantasies and looked up at Neji, flustered a bit. "Oh, no I just think it looks nice." She lied before placing it back on the table and once again, clinging to Neji's arm, sending a shockwave of goosebumps up to his neck.
"I-if you want it, I can get it for you." He offered. Lady Tsunade gave them plenty of money to spend, even on themselves. And Neji wasn't one to throw money around, but it couldn't be that expensive right? This will make up for the birthdays he missed out on when he was having... 'Main Family' issues. Even if it was out of Tsunade's pocket.
Besides, it was her fault giving a teenage girl and a guy who has a crush on that teenage girl money.
"Yes but, I wouldn't want to cause you any trouble. I can live without it."
"-But the stone seems to like you very much."
Hinata and Neji turned to an elderly lady who just walked out of the door behind the counter. She slowly approached them and lifted the necklace carefully. "Did you know crystals have their own souls and powers? They help to fend off negative spirits and energy. Of course you can do those things with prayer, candles, sweet grass, holy water, and sage. But what makes the crystals different, is that they can also heal your soul as well."
Neji didn't buy it for a second, but Hinata was superstitious. And she was enjoying the conversation very much. Neji just wanted to get out of here before the old hag tried to sell them everything in the shop.
"Can crystals really do those things?" Hinata asked as if to be reassured.
"Yes." The lady said. "The energies from this stone are particularly strong today. And I think it's because of you. I was wondering what was disturbing the presence in my shop. If you buy it, you can protect yourself, and heal others as well."
Hinata bit her lip slightly before looking up at Neji with contact covered puppy dog eyes saying 'What should I do?'
Neji sighed. "How much is it, obaa-san?" He totally caved. So much for being a man.
"10,000 yen." She held her hand out.
Neji's mouth dropped along with his wallet. 100 bucks for a crystal whose magic might not work? Yeah right.
"We can't afford that. Let's go, Hina-san." He put a hand on her back, meaning to drag her out of that store, when the lady called to them again.
"-You know what, I'll cut the price by half and even throw in a dream catcher. How does that sound?"
"Not interested." Neji's vein pulsed. He knew it all along that she was just a salesman who was trying to pick pockets with unreasonable prices for crafts she could have made from materials that don't even worth as much as their price. He grabbed Hinata's wrist and dragged her out as the lady threatened to curse them for not buying anything from her shop.
Hinata looked back feeling guilty, and neji could sense it already. "Just ignore her. She's a conny."
She jumped slightly in realization that she was showing her emotions, and she didn't want to be an inconvenience to Neji while they were on their mission. She looked up at her cousin and smiled, slightly comforted by his words. "Y-you're right. I won't worry about it." Her eyes slowly moved down to his empty hand, but she caught herself. Hinata averted her eyes and wallowed in her own thoughts. 'No, it will probably be uncomfortable for him... Besides, he looked... Sick this morning... Probably because of me...'
"What's wrong." Neji blinked.
"Oh- nothing, I was just thinking." She put up her hands and brushed a strand of hair behind her ear that escaped her bun.
"... About?" He raised an eyebrow curiously; hoping she wasn't worrying about making him uncomfortable again.
"Oh... Uhm... Well... We're in public. I thought- we would seem more like a couple if we... we..." She stopped and looked away, blushing.
Neji had a slight flush across his face. He was imagining every answer possible that would come from her mouth. But wait, she wouldn't be so bold too... No. He needed to calm himself down. He took a deep breath and questioned her. "-If we..?"
Hinata lowered her voice. "Held... Hands?"
His face went blank. That was it? He was imagining kissing, hugging, arms around each other. Things he couldn't control his manly side with. But holding hands he was capable of keeping himself in check. He smiled in sudden and unexpected happiness as he softly wrapped his fingers around her much smaller hand. Hinata's slowly intertwining with his in return.
They both strolled down the marketplace, the sound of voices, performers, and buzzing becoming inaudible around them as an aura of bliss surrounded them, blocking out the rest of the world. Those two the only ones in existence. As they smiled and stared into each other's eyes, a spark of ecstasy jumped in their hearts... As if they were really falling into their roles.
Maybe... It was becoming more than an undercover assignment. Maybe; just maybe they were really in-
The two cousins snapped out of their thoughts and turned to the direction the scream came from. The crowd got quieter with baffled whispers. Heads turning. Some trying to see where it came from, some looking at others; who were just as confused.
"... Did you hear that?" Neji looked around him.
"NO! STOP! PLEASE LET ME GO-" A loud slam interrupted the shrieking voice. Neji and Hinata jumped again.
"Could it be a kidnapping?" Hinata said under her breath in distress.
Neji squeezed her hand tighter and began to run in the direction the screaming was coming from. "Let's find out!"
The two of them dashed as fast as they could. It was hard for them to use Byakugan with colored contacts, but it still somewhat worked. Cutting several corners, shops, and buildings to get to their destination, they stopped in an alleyway. Neji looked around, trying to search for the source. When suddenly, the two heard the sound of horses neighing and clopping it's feet on the ground- an angry man silencing it after. The two immediately ran towards the sound, running behind a building to see horses tied to a metal cart. Where a man picked up a knocked out prostitute and threw her in the back of it. He slammed the doors shut, turning to his comrade. They both had grey masks covering their head and nose down.
"Is that the last of them?" The one on the left said.
"Yeah. Man, they're so noisy. Let's get out of here before anyone catches-"
The man shut up when suddenly there was a kunai pointed as his throat, the other pale free hand pointed at a vital chakra point near his heart. "Mind telling me what's going on?"
The man looked down at Neji with wild eyes- then at his partner, who was going to come up behind Neji and attack. When Hinata knocked him out by hitting a chakra hole in neck with her fingers in one swift movement.
Neji shifted his eyes for a second just from the thud behind him caused by Hinata. But when he looked back, the guy had disappeared from his grasp in the blink of an eye. He stood up straight and looked around, when suddenly smoke blew up in front of their eyes, blocking their vision and also making it hard to breath.
The sound of Hinata getting hit was quickly cut off with a thud. Neji covered his face with his sleeve as he navigated his way through the smoke, not trying to breath it in, whatever was making him choke. "Hina-chan!? Hinata-sama!" Before he knew it, the smoke disappeared and there was Hinata, laying face down on the sand, unconscious. The two shinobi were gone, and so was their carriage. But Neji decided to worry about that later. He rushed to her side and propped her up on his arm, popping his contacts out and using Byakugan to check for any vital wounds as he called her name.
"Hinata-sama... Hang in there. Hinata-sa-" He stopped short when he saw there was a blow to the back of her head, leaving a small bump and a bruise. He sighed with relief that it wasn't life threatening and pulled her limp body into his. Embracing her tightly...
… But she was still hurt. And he couldn't protect her properly. The thought about it was bugging him immensely. 'Hinata-sama.. I'm sorry I couldn't protect you. I'll make sure it never happens again. What would your father say about thi-'
No... It wasn't about what her father thought. It was about how pathetic he felt. The contacts were fogged because of the smoke, and he couldn't use byakugan properly. Making him almost completely invaluable. It hurt his pride as a genius. Sometimes he wished he acted more than analyzed.
He lifted her light body off the ground and into his arms closely. 'I'll take the backroads back to the hotel and sneak into our room so nobody notices my eyes... Those guys, they'll pay for this.'
With that, he disappeared into the shadows.