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27 November 2008 @ 02:24 pm
Apple Dreams  
Another entry for 30_kisses, this is the one for my NejiHina claim. I'm really hoping to get my 2 claims done for this comm sometime soon, as I have other claims I would like to make and you're only allowed 2 at a time.

Anyway, enjoy the kawaii NejiHina

Title: Apple Dreams
Author/Artist: tasogaretaichou
Pairing: Hyuuga Neji x Hyuuga Hinata
Fandom: Naruto
Theme: #23 - Candy
Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine, were it mine there would be far less fail in the current canon.

March 14th. White Day. A day that many girls viewed with no small amount of trepidation. For numerous reasons, not the least of which being the worry over whether the chosen boy they'd gifted with chocolate the month before would return their gesture this month. Hyuuga Hinata was one of those girls, those young women who found herself fretful with worry over that day -- it was a Tuesday this year -- but in her case it wasn't even for the reasons that most would have thought.

Unlike the vast majority of young women and girls in Konoha, Hinata never took the time to make one gift more special than the others, to make it stand out with notice so that all -- especially the one she presented it to -- would know that he was the most special, the most cherished. Indeed, in all of her 15 years, she had hardly thought of daring to do so. It had mostly been because of her shyness that she'd hesitated to make any one gift stand out, but also because she was just not the sort of person to elevate one above another, regardless of feelings that she may have held, kept deep within herself.

And so she had gone on throughout the years as usual, pale eyes watching the one she loved -- at the time it had been Naruto-kun -- and wondering for the umpteenth time whether perhaps this year she should have made something extra special, perhaps even given it to him in secrecy, so that he wouldn't have known it was her. But then, that defeated the entire purpose of Valentine's Day, she supposed. And so she'd always continued, making the same chocolate for everyone, sharing it with her teammates -- despite Shino's constantly calm mentions that he didn't need any -- as well as her teachers, her family, her friends. And after that, all that she could do was sit and wait for White Day with some small measure of dread, her one embarassing -- at least to her -- secret kept close within her mind. Not even because it was that shameful a secret, but just something that she didn't want them to know.

Hyuuga Hinata hated chocolate.

It wasn't a matter of allergies, or even a distaste for sweets that compelled it, but simply the fact that from the time she was a child, she'd never really enjoyed the too-sweet taste of the smooth confection. But it was a secret nonetheless, a secret not because she was ashamed to not like chocolate, but because to reveal it thusly would -- in her opinion -- bring sadness to those she cared about. To the friends and teammates that always reciprocated her kind-hearted gifts with chocolate offerings of their own, chocolate offerings she smiled at and thanked them for, and even ate as they watched, refusing to even show any sign that she didn't want them, that though she loved the thought and was so very touched by their gesture, the last thing she wanted to eat was chocolate.

It wasn't even that she disliked candy. In fact, there was one particular sort of candy that she loved, that she would always search for when out on an away mission, not because it was essential to the mission -- it wasn't, of course -- but because they didn't have them in Konoha, and she couldn't get them at home. No, the candy that she liked -- a smooth, rounded piece of hard candy exactly the shape and flavour of a miniature green apple -- wasn't even native to her home, but rather was found in Amegakure, a place where trade had recently become so shakey that they'd all but stopped even sending merchants into Konoha's territory.

She had first come across the candies when she was a little girl, before the machinations of the Hyuuga had changed everything. When she and Neji had been so close that they often slept in the same bed, her smaller form curled up against his, her own arms looped tight around the stuffed bear he'd thoughtfully given her one weekend. His father -- her uncle -- had given her and Neji each two, and when she'd greedily finished hers quickly and been disappointed there weren't any more, her cousin had given her the one he hadn't eaten. In fact, her stoic cousin was probably the only person who knew not only that she didn't like chocolate, but also knew how much she loved the apple candies.

But now those candies were few and far between, harder to find as trade dried up and festered like an untreated wound in the face of impending war. And so she ate chocolate, because that was what there was, and that was what people gave her, and it wouldn't do to seem ungrateful to them. Just as she would this White Day.

And it was just as she'd assumed it would be, the eager offerings of chocolates -- Kiba's formed somehow into the shape of Akamaru -- and her false yet not false smiles and the way she'd obligingly tried each of the gifts presented to her. The way she'd made sure to blush and act appropriately embarassed when Naruto gave her ramen instead, not so much because she had to act like that was a proper gift but because she no longer knew how she really felt about him and it was easier just to pretend things were the same. The only one who didn't give her anything in return was Neji, but she wasn't really surprised by that. He'd never been one to pay much heed to her annual chocolate gifts, and she really had no reason to expect him to start now.

No, what surprised her wasn't the lack of a gift from Neji, rather it was the presence of the small, white-wrapped and nondescript package sitting on the tatami floor in front of her bedroom door that was a source of startlement to the heiress. Kneeling down, she carefully studied the parcel. It was about 8 inches square, roughly the size of a moderately-sized bento, and wrapped up in pristine white paper. The card affixed to the top was without decoration or ornamentation, and the only writing on it was simply her name in simple pen strokes. Turning the package over in her hand, she searched for any sign of ownership, any hint that would give her some idea of who it was from. Finding none, she simply shrugged and slid open the door to her room, carrying the strange gift inside.

Sitting down on her futon, she folded her legs beneath her and set the box in front of her. It looked harmless enough, and she certainly didn't get any sort of threatening senses from it. Reaching out, she fingered the fine white cord holding the paper closed and gave it an experimental tug. At the release of tension, the white paper fell away to reveal a box of the same pristine whiteness, with a small gold stamp in the center of it. The stamp wasn't anything that she recognized, not a notable merchant's seal or anything. Just the simple gold outline of a bird in flight. A swallow, she thought it looked like.

Gripping the sides of the box with slim fingers, she carefully lifted the lid, dropping it to the side with a little gasp at it's revealed contents. There, amidst a little flourish of gold tissue paper, sat twelve perfect green spheres, their smooth glistening surfaces tinged with just the faintest powdering of sugar, each one secure it it's own pleated white cup. Picking one up with shaking fingers, she turned it over in her hand, scarcely able to believe they were real. Licking her lips involuntarily, she brought the candy to her mouth, pressing lips against it and enjoying the tart kiss of flavour that burst across her taste buds. Slipping the apple candy into her mouth, she sucked on it thoughtfully, eyes closed in bliss for a moment before picking up the lid and studying it, fingers running over the gold embossing. A faint smile curved her lips as she traced the painted wings, eyes softening a bit.

Arigatou... Neji-niisan...
Psyche: chipperchipper