March 14. It had been exactly one month since Neji had kissed her. Hinata blushed at the remembrance of her cousin's lips crushing against her own. She desperately wanted to confront Neji about it after she had woken up from unconsciousness, but she couldn't work up the courage. What would she say? Hey Neji, remember on Valentine's Day that you stole my first kiss? Well I was just wondering, what the freak was that all about? Hinata sighed. The week that followed after the said kiss, she avoided him. There was no way she could look at him without having another fainting spell. When she had decided it was time to stop being childish and just talk to him, he was sent away on a mission. She didn't know how she'd face him when he returned.

Wanting to get her mind off things, Hinata left the Hyuuga compound quietly and headed to the training grounds. Once there, she noticed her teammate Inuzuka Kiba already there with Akamaru. Hinata bit her lip. This was going to be awkward.

"Hey Hinata-chan!" Kiba said loudly. Akamaru barked a greeting.

"Hello Kiba-kun," Hinata replied quietly, bending to pet the little dog's head.

"Do you want to train with me?" Kiba said more than asked, already taking Hinata's hand. She nodded her head, knowing she'd have to even if she said no.

Kiba and Hinata's training session was just as awkward as Hinata predicted it would be. Kiba hardly landed a hit. It seemed like he just wanted to have a reason to touch her rather than train. Grunting, Hinata blocked a chakra point in Kiba's stomach. He fell to the ground with an 'oof' and smiled.

"Wow Hinata-chan! You're getting pretty good!" Kiba said, flashing a toothy grin. He extended his hand, indicating that he wanted Hinata to help him up. Hinata sighed and grasped his hand, but instead was pulled down onto Kiba's lap.

"Oops, I'm such a klutz," Kiba said, laughing. Hinata blushed furiously. He did that on purpose! She tried to stand up, but he wrapped a tan arm around her waist.

"Wait Hinata-chan, I'm comfortable like this," Kiba whispered in her ear. Hinata's eyes grew wide. Kiba smiled at her and leaned in, puckering his lips. Oh, no! Hinata silently screamed. His lips were on hers before she could think. It felt nothing like Neji's kiss. Kiba's lips were chapped and his work was rather sloppy. Akamaru could have probably done a better job! His kiss didn't send shivers down her spine like the way her cousin's had. Hinata wanted it to end so badly, but Kiba's hand was at the back of her head, trapping her.

"Inuzuka!" a rough voice growled. Kiba broke the kiss, much to Hinata's relief, to see who had addressed him. Scrambling off Kiba's lap, Hinata found herself face to face with the cousin she'd been avoiding.

"N-N-Neji-nii-san!" she stuttered out. Sure enough, Neji had just returned from his mission, cuts and scrapes still fresh on him. But, he never turned to look at her. Instead, Neji was busy glaring at Kiba.

"What the hell did you think you were doing, Inuzuka!" Neji hissed.

"I can do whatever I please!" Kiba shot back. Akamaru barked defensively at his side.

"Not to my Heiress you can't!" Neji snarled, grabbing Hinata's hand. Hinata blushed. He'd never addressed her as 'his Heiress'. Sure, that was what she was to him, but it just felt odd having him say it out loud.

"I'm taking you back to the compound, Hinata-sama!" Neji barked, yanking her off in another direction. Kiba's shouts of protest were lost as they headed back to the Hyuuga compound. Although they walked in silence, Hinata could practically feel the rage radiating off Neji. It was now or never, she decided.

"N-Neji-nii-san?" she said, breaking the silence with a slight stutter.

" What?" he responded, rather rudely.

"Well, I-I just wanted t-to ask you," she started, berating herself for that darned stutter.

"About what?" Neji asked, the rudeness gone but the serious tone remaining.

"I-it's about, um," Hinata said, feeling her face turn red.

"Spit it out, Hinata-sama," Neji said turning to face her.

"V-valentine's Day," she scrambled rapidly. Her face blushed brighter than she'd ever had before.

"Oh," Neji said, his look softening. "What exactly did you want to ask me about Valentine's Day?"

Hinata clenched her fists at her side, hoping to ease some of the embarrassment.

"Well, y-you… you k-kissed me."

The air became so tense Hinata feared she might choke on it. Neji chuckled.

"Yes, I seem to remember that," he smiled. "But that's not a question, it's a statement." He's really trying to torture me here, isn't he? Hinata mentally cursed her cousin.

"I w-want t-to know why you d-did that," she said quietly, pointing her fingers. Neji stopped walking and leaned against a tree.

"Did what, Hinata-sama?" Neji smirked. Hinata fumed. He was really testing her.

"Why did you kiss me?" she said loudly (well, loudly for Hinata anyway). Neji stopped smiling and looked down. Fun and games were over and he did owe her an explanation.

"I guess I'm no better than Inuzuka, trapping you in a kiss like that," he said quietly. Hinata waited patiently, no longer upset.

"I…I'd liked you for a while, but I told myself it wasn't right. You're my Heiress, I'm your servant. But for once, I wanted to know what it would be like to actually kiss you," Neji said, his head bowed. Hinata gasped and pointed her fingers.

"That…that was my first kiss," she responded to his silence. Neji winced.

"I'm sorry. I guess you never pictured it with me," he mumbled. Hinata felt terrible. He looked hurt and regretful.

"No, I didn't exactly imagine it with you. But…" Hinata hesitated.

"But what, Hinata-sama?" Neji inquired of her, lifting his head in curiosity.

"It…it felt…nice."

Silence filled the air once more. Neji's jaw dropped in shock. It wasn't the proclamation of undying love he'd always dreamed of, but it was something.

"What about Naruto? I thought you loved him," Neji said quietly, afraid to shatter the moment. Hinata sighed and shook her head, a blush adorning her cheeks.

"I thought so too. But, after you...k-kissed me…I don't know," she mumbled, fiddling her fingers again. True, she hadn't been able to think straight after Valentine's Day. Instead of daydreaming about Naruto, she constantly let her mind roam to her cousin's kiss. The way his lips moved so confidently over her own, they way his hand tangled in her hair, the lightheadedness she felt when the experience was over…

"Are you trying to say that you like me, Hinata-sama?" Neji asked hopefully, trying not to get his hopes up. Hinata blushed even harder.

"Maybe," she whispered. Neji's heart soared, though he carefully concealed it. So she really did return his affections? She did not think his feelings to be sick and incestuous? Oh, how he wanted to hold her, to claim her lips once more. Then, his eyes roamed to her forehead. It was clean of the Caged Bird Seal. She was free to do as she pleased; he was still trapped in his cage. To him, she was strictly taboo.

"It is wrong, Hinata-sama," Neji said quietly, taking a blow to his heart. How could something so wrong feel so right? Hinata gasped, feeling tears sting at her eyes.

"Y-you don't mean that!" she protested, her heart shattering. It shouldn't have hurt this much! She didn't even know she'd liked him till now, so why should her heart feel like it was being torn in two?

"Yes, I do," Neji lied. How hated hurting her like this when she could be his! Crystalline tears were already making their way done her cheeks.

"Would you have kissed me in the first place had you not meant it? You just admitted to having felt something for me and you take it back five seconds later?" Hinata cried, infuriated that he was playing with her like this after not having seen him for a month. Neji exhaled the breath he didn't even know he was holding. How could he make her understand?

"Just leave me alone Neji, haven't you done enough?" Hinata sobbed, running towards the compound.

A few years ago, Hiashi had asked Neji to move into the Main House area of the compound. His room was next to Hinata's to insure her safety. Usually, Neji loved to hear the sound of her breathing through the wall while she slept at night. This night was different, though. Instead of the still peacefulness of sleep, Neji heard soft sobs coming from his Heiress. He wanted to run in, take her into his arms and tell her he never meant any of those cold things. He wanted to make her his and take her pain away. Instead, he sat against the wall and cried along with her.

When Hinata's crying had ceased and she had fallen into a fitful slumber, Neji crept out of his bedroom and into hers. He could at least tell her what he really held in his heart while she slept.

Upon entering her bedroom, Neji saw Hinata's tiny figure huddled in her futon. He knelt beside her and brushed a stray strand of her midnight blue hair from her face. Her cheeks were still tearstained.

"Hinata-sama, I've caused you so much pain haven't I? Not just today, but for many years," Neji began, stroking Hinata's hair while he spoke.

"You have no idea just how much I wish I could have you. I do not think it wrong for you to want me back, even though I said so today. I doubt you would still hold any affection for me after what I did, so it really wouldn't matter anyway. The only reason I said the things I did was because I know the clan would shun us if they knew. I could care less about what happens to me, but what about you? You're the Heiress! Your place is here. Hate me if you will, but I could never hate you. I just wanted you to know that," Neji whispered in her ear, kissing her unmarked forehead as he stood up to leave. He turned his back to Hinata and headed towards the door.

"You're wrong, Neji. I do still feel something," a small voice whispered, stopping Neji in his tracks. His eyes were wide as he turned his head to the direction where the voice had come from.

"H-Hinata-sama?" he stuttered, completely baffled. Hadn't she been asleep when he walked in? Hinata blushed and stared at the floor. She beckoned for him to sit beside her. His legs felt weak as he obeyed.

"How did you…?" Neji asked in disbelief.

"I woke up when you walked in, but I pretended to be asleep. I heard everything," Hinata murmured. It was Neji's turn to blush.

"D-did you really mean it?" Hinata asked, afraid of his answer. Neji sighed. There was no way he could hide it now. He opened his mouth as if to speak, but feared his voice might crack and he'd disgrace himself, so he simply nodded. He turned his head to look Hinata in the eyes, wanting to see her reaction. She kept her head down, but she looked a bit skeptical. Who could blame her? He'd kissed her, left her for a month, came back and told her he wanted her, she confessed she felt the same, he rejected her, broke her heart, and then whispered to her while she slept that it had all been a lie. Even he'd be a little unsure had he been in her position.

"Prove it," Hinata said, just barely above a whisper.

"Excuse me?" Neji asked, missing what she'd said.

"Prove that you really meant it," she repeated, slightly louder this time. How was he supposed to do that?

"I…What do you want me to do?" Neji asked, voicing his thoughts. Hinata was silent for a moment before whispering, "K-kiss me." Neji took a sharp intake of air. Had she missed what he had just said? No matter how much he wanted her, he simply could not have her.

"Hinata-sama, as much as I want to, I can not. The clan-"

"Oh, for Kami's sake!" Hinata exclaimed before pulling him in to kiss him herself. She blushed furiously, but the word 'clan' had made her snap. Neji's eyes were wide with shock. He never expected her to do this! His little cousin's hands were on either side of his face as she crushed her pink lips against his own. Unable to resist much longer, Neji wrapped his arms around her and ran his hands through her hair.

"Hinata, we really shouldn't be doing this," Neji murmured when they had broken apart for air.

"I don't care," she said as she wrapped around his waist and laid her head on his chest. Smiling, Neji held her and kissed the top of her head.

"Me neither," he said. He sighed with contentment as he laid Hinata back on her futon and joined her.

"Stay with me?" she asked as she made herself comfortable in his arms again. Neji nodded. The fell asleep that way, in each others embraces. They were no longer afraid of what the future would hold, because they'd have the other by their side, forever.