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25 December 2009 @ 08:58 am
One Last Request  
Title: One Last Request
Fandom: Naruto
Character/Pairing: NejixHinata
Rating: PG
Prompt: #30 - Kiss
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or it's characters. They belong to Kishimoto Masashi, I am merely borrowing them for a time.

The nondescript brown paper package sat in the center of his desk, it's presence mocking him with it's own anonymity. Standing beside his chair, Hyuuga Neji stared down at the small square-shaped parcel with well-concealed trepidation. Not because unmarked packages left on his desk were to be approached with caution -- they were, but given the circumstances he was relatively certain that this particular package was harmless -- but more because he had a relatively concrete idea of the sort of package this one was.

Pulling out the chair, Konohagakure's ANBU commander dropped his lanky form into the cushioned leather with a sigh, one arm reaching out to snag one of the loops of the simple red twine that tied the package closed. He dragged the small box over in front of him, shaking his head faintly.

He already knew who it was from -- or at least he had a good idea -- and that was the entire reason why this particular package didn't find itself relegated to the festive-coloured pile in the back corner of his office closet, yet another offering to the dark cold. One finger idly traced over the simple bow, the neat folding of paper around the small square box. Glancing out the window, white eyes met an equally-blanched landscape, the familiar rooftops of Konoha dusted with a thick crusted layer of ice crystals.

The decorations were already going up -- hell, they'd been up for nearly 2 weeks now -- and every time he ventured outdoors he found his senses assailed with the sound of music and bells and shouting as the denizens of Konoha did their holiday shopping. And that didnt' even figure in the crowds, the people on corners asking for charity, the bundles of irritating green leaves and white berries that he had to avoid.

That was the real reason he tended to avoid the streets during Christmastime. Leaning back in his chair with a sigh, Neji folded arms behind his head and closed his eyes. He remembered the last time he'd ventured out at this time of year. Or at least... the last time he'd ventured out without any reason behind it. He'd been approached by no less than 8 women and 2 men, all of whom had attempted to maneuver him underneath one of those offensive bundles of mistletoe in an attempt to take advantage of a tradition he detested.

With a heavy sigh, he straightened up, picking up the package again, turning it over in his hands. There was no point in dragging it out, regardless of his feelings about the holidays, this one was one that he was going to open. Pulling out a small letter opener, he carefully slid it under the edge of the paper, slicing the tape. Unwrapping the brown paper -- he shook his head slightly at the fact that someone who loved the season so much would choose such plain paper -- he popped the lid on the small white box, the faintest ghost of a smile gracing his features as he picked up the small square of white chocolate.

He'd been right, the gift had come from her. She was probably the only one who knew of his preference for white chocolate -- for peppermint bark, as this proved to be -- over the normal confections of the holidays. She was the only one he openly ate the treat around, feeling instead that while it was perfectly acceptable for him to much on sugary sweet things when they were alone, him leaning his head back against her chest while she shyly looped arms around his shoulders, he considered it another thing entirely for the ANBU divisions under him to know that their commanding officer had a sweet-tooth.

Frowning slightly, he set the chocolate down, picking up the small folded piece of red paper that it had been resting on. Unwrinkling the stiff square, he let pearlescent eyes roam over the neat, curving script. It was an address, followed by a time. Confused, Neji turned the paper over, looking for some explanation. It obviously meant something, Hinata didn't do things without meaning, even if the meaning was one that only she understood. Glancing up at the clock, he mentally noted the nearness of the time she'd written down.

Well, there was nothing for it, really. Their relationship aside, she was Soke, he Bunke, and though he knew she'd never demand it, never order him to anything, the obedience was ingrained within him despite his distaste for it. Standing up, he snagged the heavy black wool coat off of the peg, shoving arms through it and buttoning up the front before heading out the door, dropping the small package into his desk drawer before he left.

Walking down the street, he kept his face downcast, doing his best not to make eye contact with any of the ones he passed. It didn't work very well, and he found himself with little choice but to grumble and keep his eyes upraised, if only to avoid an inevitable collision. Pulling out the small red card, he paused on a corner to study the address again, backing out of the way as someone came barreling past. The address was only a few blocks away, and another glance at the nearest clock showed he'd walked faster than expected. Oh well, now he had a good 20 minutes to occupy himself with.

Sticking his hands in his pockets, the lanky man made his way to the appropriate corner and took up a position leaning against the lightpost. Thankfully the snowfall had slowed, and instead of a driving torrent of white, the flakes had softened into a gentle falling spectacle. It was, he had to admit, rather lovely to look at. Standing there, he shrugged his shoulders slightly before training his eyes on the parade of passersby.

If there was one thing that could be said for Christmastime, it was that the season seemed to bring people together. Families walked down the street, the children laughing and pointing at the brightly-lit window displays, begging for indulgences as their parents laughed. Friends darted after one another, joking and teasing, throwing snowballs before ducking into one store or another. Pairs and groups of people walked, stopping at some point as one would pull out a wrapped bag or parcel and shove it into anothers hands with a flourish and a laugh.

And then, there were the couples. Walking hand-in-hand, whispering things into each others' ears, stopping at corners to embrace and share a kiss under the mistletoe. He felt his frown deepening as he watched his teammate pull out a -- predictably -- green box and present it to Haruno Sakura with a flourish, only to be greeted with an enthusiastic kiss. Turning away, his eyes instead found a blushing Akimichi Chouji shyly holding out a parcel to Yamanaka Ino. Growling slightly, Neji cast his gaze around, finally settling on the lone figure of Uzumaki Naruto, conspicuous orange pants making him easy to spot as the blond wandered along the street, pausing every so often to stare in a window.

Naruto would have understood, he supposed. Though the reasoning might not have been the same, at least the loudmouth shinobi knew what it was like to have to pretend. Knew what it felt like when you could only let yourself act on your feelings in private, where no one else could see. It wasn't common knowledge -- much like the relationship between himself and Hinata -- but the perceptive Hyuuga knew perfectly well who the younger man was thinking of when his eyes lingered on one thing or another in one of the shop windows.

It was the same with him. And her, though the penalties for such a thing would have been far harsher on his side. He wasn't supposed to love her, she shouldn't have noticed. And now they were stuck, stuck in this limbo of a relationship, her asking shyly for things she shouldn't want, him unable -- and unwilling, if he was completely honest -- to deny her those simple things. His presence on her walks to the gate for her missions, holding her hand until the massive red-painted doors came into view. An hour, here and there, her head resting against his shoulder as they watched the dusk fall together. The simple pleasure of sitting on the porch behind him, his head resting against her torso as she combed gentle fingers through his long hair.

They weren't bad things that she wanted, nor were they difficult. No, the difficulty lay in the fact that he knew those things would escalate. That soon, she'd ask for more. And he'd be bound to give it to her. Hell, he'd WANT to give it to her, he wanted it now. He wanted to have the freedom, the luxury of walking with her down the street, her arm through his the way Kiba was walking with a red-head he didn't recognize. To be able to stop in the middle of the street the way that a brunette man was doing at the other end of the block and just spin her around in the snow before pulling her close to kiss her. Just because. Not for any special reason, or to prove anything, but just... because she was Hinata.

He sensed her before he saw her, though he was sufficiently distracted by his own moodiness that it was a moment before the nervous crunching of boots in the show caught his attention. Turning, his gaze landed on her slight figure, dark hair and flushed cheeks a stark contrast for her pale skin and the ivory wool of her coat. He took a moment to look at her, so un-used to seeing her in anything but her normal lavender and white parka and blue pants that he almost didn't recognize her. She had a teal green band in her dark hair, it's plain colour offset with a little silken flower on one side, ivory-white petals tinged with the faintest coral. It looked... nice on her. She was holding something clutched in her arms, held against her chest. It was red, woolen. A blanket or something, he mused to himself, wondering what task she was ready to set him next.


He nodded in greeting, raising an eyebrow slightly as she swallowed nervously and squeaked his name, booted feet shuffling in the snow. Watching, he stood silently as she closed her eyes and sucked in a deep breath before thrusting the armful of red wool at him, her alabaster eyes staring at the ground, her face nearly as crimson as the yarn.

"H...h...here! I.... I made it for you..... Neji-niisan...."

Gracefully, he took the blanket, noting to himself as he did that it was far too small to be what he'd initially thought, eyes widening slightly as he unrolled a long scarlet scarf, the ends carefully braided and fringed. The girl in front of him fidgeted as the silence dragged on, her fingers nervously pushing against each other as she stared at the ground, waiting for his response. With a faint sigh, he draped the red wool around his shoulders, settling it to his satisfaction before nodding at her again.

"Thank you, Hinata-sama. It's very well-made. That was generous of you."

He regretted the cold formality of his words the instant they left his lips as she flinched slightly, catching her lower lip in her teeth. For a moment, he thought she would cry, until she raised her head to look him directly in the eye with another swallow.

"Neji-niisan...... I'm sorry. I've.... I've been unfair to you. I....I didn't....didn't think."

Neji noted with a small degree of surprise as she took another breath, her shaky voice firming as she continued, drawing strength from some hidden reserves he'd never known she possessed.

"I..I've only thought about what I wanted. About myself. And how I felt. Not about how you felt. I... I know I've put you into an awful position. And I'm sorry for that. So... after today.... I won't ask you to do things that you don't want to do... even if they're things that I want you to do."

Catching her lip in her teeth again, she dropped her fidgeting hands, clasping them behind her and nervously digging the toe of her boot into the snow.

"So.... there's only one more thing I'll ask you to do, Neji-niisan. Just once.... would you kiss me? That... that's the last thing... that I want... that I'll ask for. I promise. After that.... I won't ask you to do things you don't want to do anymore."

He took a long moment to think, to consider, before nodding.

"Yes, Hinata-sama. If you wish."

Stepping forward, he softly cupped her cheek in his hand, tilting her face up to press his lips to the soft skin beside her mouth in a chaste kiss. Pulling back, he could see the flush on her cheeks, and see the sudden flash of disappointment in her eyes as she swallowed back the sting of his apparent rejection. She nodded, forcing a faint smile.

"Th...thank you.... Neji-niisan."

As she turned to leave, he caught her arm, his fingers wrapping around her wrist as he pointed upwards, directing her bewildered and almost tearful eyes to the clump of shiny green leaves tied to the lamp's arch with a brilliant crimson bow.

"We're under the mistletoe, Hinata-sama."

And without another word, he drew her back into his embrace, leaning down to capture her mouth with his in a tender kiss, his arm tightening around her waist and his fingers threading in her hair, kissing her the way he'd always wanted to, feeling her stiffen in surprise and then melt into it, her arms hesitantly finding their way around his neck to pull them closer together. After a few breathless moments, he pulled back to stare down at her, his eyes taking in her stunned expression as she shook her head.

"B..but... but Neji-niisan.... I said you didn't... that you didn't have to..."

He cut her off with a single fingertip pressed to her lips.

"I know. You said that I no longer have to do as you wish. And I'm not. That was what I wanted, Hinata-sama."