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Uzumaki Naruto ([info]impellere) wrote in [info]last_stretch,
@ 2009-10-27 17:21:00

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Entry tags:closed log, naruto, neji

Who: Naruto & Neji
What: Something awkward After a week of trying to figure out the how's and why's Naruto drops by for a visit. Immediately following this post and followed by this log~
Where: That big place with the loft and the... Yeah. Hyuuga's apartment.
When: 11.1o.o9 [l-lol]

There was only so much that can be done on the phone. What could occur did. Naruto had said what he thought he needed to despite the fact that the blame went ignored,a heavy feeling settling in his gut the moment he hung up the phone. Nothing changed between that day and the week that passed except more worry as the idea that Tenten really left to another country sunk in. Though it wasn't like when they were kids and someone would run away to a nearby park to hide out. This was a whole other venture that Naruto was in no means secure enough to take.

He couldn't fly a plane, or hijack one. His ninja skills were not that spectacular. And who would babysit Kiba if he were stuck in jail with no Tenten to bail him out? She needed to be back for the circle of life as Naruto knew it to continue moving smoothly!

Arriving to the conclusion that he would need help to fetch Tenten and bring her back home kicking and screaming only left him with one option. It didn't matter that that particular door was the last one he wanted to show up at. Handling brief flashbacks of that night from nearly a year ago had already compromised his better judgment of showing up at all. Skipping his stop and staying on the city bus was far more tempting than impending doom.

There was only a half hour bus ride between him and the block he would have to walk to arrive at Neji's apartment. It was a very, slow walk.

Every step was like a stab to his pride but he made it onto the front step safe and breathed in deep, a kitten carrier on his shoulder and finger on the bell. Itoshii was curled in his arm, bundled there for warmth. Sure Naruto feared being left outside.

With Itoshii out there was little chance he would go ignored. Unless Neji was heartless. Naruto would just have to take his chances.

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2009-10-28 12:17 am UTC (link)
Neji would have had to lie if he claimed he expected Naruto to show up on his doorstep, be it sooner or later. Despite not having given them up, ten months were more than a sufficient time to grow used to the aloofness in their friendship, one he'd hoped would come to pass and realized would not without help.

Despite that, he would have been equally surprised if he ended up never opening his door to a mop of blond and blue eyes alive with whatever raw emotion Naruto felt like subjecting him to at the given moment.

When he heard the doorbell, his instinct and a brief method of elimination of likelihoods both told him what his eyes would confirm one staircase and a hallway later.

Out of habit, as though it hadn't been at all long, his pale eyes wandered to take in every last detail of the sight he was provided - photographic memory assuring that it didn't take very long. Even without keeping in mind their current issue, the picture of Naruto and Itoshii told him that the blond was unlikely to stay for extended tea.

Just as well.

Unmoving, he didn't speak up before his gaze came to fix on another pair of eyes, Neji's own pale features carefully giving away as little of his thoughts as possible, and not even his voice betrayed him as he went for a neutral tone.

"What can I do for you?"

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Pillow-chan <3
2009-10-28 01:40 pm UTC (link)
If he were to be completely honest with himself he probably wouldn't have shown up at Neji's place either had it not been for Tenten's disappearance. This was simply the right thing to nudge him forward into doing something that should have rightfully been done months ago. Naruto could always blame Neji for not saying the first word or picking up the phone. He could say that he'd been far more drunk and thus too out of his mind to make any sort of appropriate judgment.

In the end, though... he knew that not in a million years would Neji do something like that. He wasn't that sort of guy. Naruto was that sort of guy. Damn Neji's sexual frigidness. Up until then he'd seriously thought the bastard was asexual...

Every moment that passed as he waited there at the door he became more antsy, his finger grazing over it, scratching like some forlorn puppy. There was a second where he actually thought Neji would leave him there, the door unanswered, only to have him turn away and trek back home with a sad, little kitten in his arms. That imagery must have been the reason Naruto's nerves were torn the moment the door actually opened, his body jerking back when the man popped into view.

The last he'd seen of him had been the party and even that memory was fuzzy. Having Neji scan him like this had never been awkward before. Those weird eyes were something Naruto was all too familiar with yet now... Now he was doing the same thing. His eyes roaming over every detail that he'd seemed to have skipped on his birthday, taking in the view with a new light.

He'd only noticed what he was doing when Neji spoke, his head jerking up and ears burning despite himself.

"So formal," he muttered, bringing his hand up to cover his left ear, rubbing the heat away in annoyance. He took it upon himself to enclose some of that distance between them, his foot already stepping inside the apartment. To block the door? Maybe. Neji slamming the door in his face still wasn't far from his mind.

"Let me in. The child is freezing her furry bum off."

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2009-10-28 03:15 pm UTC (link)
Naruto's black eye hadn't completely faded yet, that was the second thing Neji noticed. The part of him that was still mildly annoyed with the other briefly mourned the fact that he'd never gotten to admire his work before, but then again, in turn, the same was the case for Naruto. At least, he wouldn't have had to give away that the punch had bruised his knuckles. The brief flare of irritation that made him bite his healing bottom lip was more due to the memory than thanks to what Naruto had just said, and when the Hyuuga stepped back it was foremostly for decency.

He cherished his personal space quite a lot, these days.

Then again, he hadn't intended to close the door in Naruto's face, and it was indeed getting cold. One of them eventually had to give in a little in order for matters to improve at all, and he was ten months past expecting Naruto to make that exceptionally smart move.

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2009-10-28 03:50 pm UTC (link)
He would have been happier to see what damage he'd done to Neji's face if not for the situation he found himself in. Playing it smart was Naruto's new regimen from here on out. True he could have waited until New Years to make such a resolution, but he highly doubted the world wouldn't end by then if things weren't cleared up between them. Or the list of 'people Naruto has hurted' will continue growing longer and longer. His conscience was not near strong enough to handle that.

Seeing as he was in the clear, Naruto stepped inside and held Itoshii out to latch onto Neji's shoulder. The little claws made do to curl into the man's shirt for dear life as the blond made himself at home, already walking towards the kitchen to dig through the fridge. A man on a mission! A mission to procrastinate from the inevitable and prolonging the conversation he had come here to have.

"You got milk, right? Stuff back home is chunky and it's a no-go for little miss."

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2009-10-28 04:02 pm UTC (link)
The small animal's condition raised to the top of his priority list for the moment as Neji raised his shoulder to help Itoshii balance for long enough to enable him to pick her up with his spare hand. Once he had adjusted her to rest in the crook of his elbow, small body secured between his forearm and chest, he followed his original visitor, but not without letting his fingers drift across soft fur soothingly.

"Fridge door," He pointed out simply, leaning in the doorway to his kitchen.

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2009-10-28 04:20 pm UTC (link)
"Ah," he acknowledged Neji with as much as he was going to before setting out to fetch the milk and a saucer to put it in. Bringing the kitten alone had been a rather stupid idea, but there was no way in good conscience that he could leave her in his apartment. Here she had warmth that he could not provide in that place. The bowl was found, milk was poured, and promptly shoved into the microwave for a second or two. That had better help to warm the poor thing up or he was going to blame himself for days if she caught a tiny kitten cold.

He felt Neji's presence and ignored it for as long as he could, happy to hear the ding to signal the milk was done and that he didn't have to speak to the man for a bit more. However, that could only last so long... Taking a deep breath, Naruto spun back around to place the bowl on the kitchen island, glancing towards Neji and then to Itoshii. She was safe territory to look at. "She can sit here, right? You don't got a thing against fur everywhere?"

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2009-10-28 04:38 pm UTC (link)
"I'm just as capable of cleaning as the majority of my neighbourhood." True to his word, he strode over to carefully place the kitten next to the bowl, glancing over his shoulder at his visitor. His gaze fixed itself there for a few seconds again before he straightened, leaving the pet to Naruto.

No, keeping his hands busy seemed like a good idea, and so he settled for preparing tea - for himself, naturally, Naruto hardly appreciated the beverage, and so he didn't offer. Before, he'd come to trust the other would help himself to anything his refrigerator contained if he felt like it, but how Naruto felt about that these days, he didn't know.

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2009-10-28 04:54 pm UTC (link)
"You could be stuffy. Stuffy people hate messes." Naruto took his place on one of the bar stools, reaching out to pick Itoshii up to place her in front of the bowl and watching her intently until she drank from it. A bit of resistance, though. Probably because she was in a new place and mommy was still gone. Truthfully, Naruto was feeling the same. He pet her behind the ears and brought the bowl closer help her feel more familiar, even going so far as letting her lick a few drops off his fingers. He sighed in relief when she finally began to drink.

Admittedly, he wasn't very hungry. Not enough to even snoop. Tenten missing had been a huge strain on him and after deciding that he had no means to get her back without a little help he had no other choice but to come to the one person he knew he could depend on for situations like this. No matter the awkward BS they'd been putting each other through or the lack of confidence he had when he walked through the front door, Neji would be there for him.

That aside he wasn't about to treat the man's home like his own. Not yet. Things were not the same and he needed to sort out why before he became too familiar again.

"I haven't seen you around," he began awkwardly, hopeful that Neji didn't come back to stare at him again anytime soon. "Any longer and I might've forgotten your face."

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2009-10-28 05:15 pm UTC (link)
Unfortunately for Naruto, Neji placed value on eye contact, and there was only so much one could do as one waited for water to start boiling. Thanks to the hesitant kitten, it wasn't bound to last long, however.

For once, Neji didn't quite know what to make of that approach, so his response was mostly lacking in bite. "Council saved up a lot of work for when I returned."

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2009-10-28 05:36 pm UTC (link)
Only so much time could pass by two people before a distance started to grow. That wall that sat between Neji and himself was already at the point where he had to use actual effort to get by it. He blamed himself for not keeping the line of communication alive since he was the one that talked most between the two, feeling the harsh air of failure the moment he had to actually think of what to say.

"You were gone? How does that work out? You eat and sleep work."

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2009-10-28 05:42 pm UTC (link)
"I was on sick leave." At that, he turned his back to the other in order to pour the boiling water. Taking his time. If Naruto wasn't going to get to the point soon, they evidently had time aplenty.

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2009-10-28 05:51 pm UTC (link)
"Liar." No more boundaries. He could say whatever he damn well wanted to. A weight was lifted off his shoulder when Neji finally looked away, the tension still in the air. Like it was waiting to drop down on him any second. He huffed, his breath catching the kitten's ear and making it twitch. That much brought a small smile to his face as he continued, "You don't ditch, either. What was more important than work, huh?"

Be damned if he was going to put his pride on the line just yet. Time was meant to be wasted and he was going to do that to his full potential.

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2009-10-28 05:58 pm UTC (link)
"There are some matters that are more important than work, especially if one can afford to miss out."

What this whole situation had done to him. Naruto was quite right - Hyuuga Neji did not ditch. Hyuuga Neji, for that matter, did not get drunk and laid, and Hyuuga Neji did not crash parties to beat up the birthday boy for being the epitome of density and irritation.

For shame, Hyuuga Neji.

He was waiting again, this time for the tea to steep, and made use of the opportunity to glower at Naruto half-heartedly.

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2009-10-29 07:27 am UTC (link)
"Don't get what's so important is all," he half-lied, knowing full well what kept Neji from going to work, though not exactly why there was finally something in the man's life that was more important than his council duties. Was he responsible for that? Had he really gone and torn the gentle fabric that was Hyuuga's rather dull and tedious existence? That deserved a pat on the back, really.

After all, it seemed Neji just needed a good screw for that stick that had been shoved up his bum for so long to dislodge itself. Ten months later, yeah, Naruto needed a pat of some kind. It might as well be one on the back.

Rolling his eyes, Naruto rested his chin on folded arms, content to watch as Itoshii finished off the milk in good time. "Stop starin' at me. You're gonna give me a bald spot."

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2009-10-30 12:10 am UTC (link)
"You can afford one," He allowed to slip out with nonchalance. Truly, nobody would miss one or the other strand from that mop.

The tea was ready, at least, already providing comfort in the form of hot porcelain for his fingers to curl around as he carried it over to the kitchen island and sat down on the opposite side.

And waited again.

Perhaps part of him was genuinely enjoying leaving it up to Naruto to get to the point, no matter how little progress there actually was. It would be another while until he'd extend a hand for the other, at the very least. Another part was simply taking in the sight of Naruto in his kitchen, all attention seemingly on the kitten. It felt too foreign.

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2009-10-30 01:24 am UTC (link)
"So you were staring." Equally snarky with his reply, Naruto smirked into his arm, watching as Neji sat down. Now there was no way to ignore him. Looking away would be far too obvious and he didn't want to take his eyes away from the kitten in fear she would fall off the table. His shoulders slumped in defeat.

There was only so long he could steep in silence without going crazy. This was Neji's way of fucking with him. That much was obvious. Any other time, place... alternate universe? Naruto would find anything to talk about to pass the time and keep that awkward pause from eating him alive. Not now, though. Not when they'd gone through so much and yet so little only to come down to this point where there was only one thing to do in order to fix everything.

And he knew not what the Hell it was.

He reached out and hooked his finger into the handle of the tea cup to pull it away, completely mindful of the foreign feeling between them but not at all ready to abandon some of his worst personality traits altogether. Naruto would have the first sip. He would insult the man for drinking the stuff. Then continue what he was on about in the first place. Here, watch him do it.

"... This tastes like shit. How can you drink this stuff you old lady."

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2009-11-10 05:09 pm UTC (link)
This, at last, felt familiar enough. Neji couldn't recall the last time Naruto had mocked his standard beverage, however suddenly it did not feel as though it had been too long of a while. The fact allowed him to feel slightly more pleased by Naruto's action, eyes trained on him intently, the corner of his mouth twitching briefly.

It wouldn't be the same without the same reaction, however, and so he gradually reached out. Neji's fingers were longer and thinner than Naruto's, but still capable of deftly prying the other pair away from the teacup. Ignoring the handle, they wrapped around the warm porcelain and pulled it back to his half of the table. As his eyes shifted to inspect the drink in question, he turned the cup between his hands.

Of course, he knew perfectly well that there was nothing wrong with it. This was Naruto's taste, or lack thereof. And so he lifted the cup to his mouth, taking a slow sip. The blond still didn't seem to be in that obvious in a hurry, after all.

He swallowed and replied with a plain twist of Naruto's words, however certain that the response would fail to impress the other, "By being an old lady."

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2009-11-10 06:34 pm UTC (link)
Not at all fighting having the cup tugged from his fingers, Naruto was perfectly content to simply watch Neji. This is what had been missing for the longest time. Maybe it was stupid, boring and otherwise annoying moments that they shared, but sometimes that was all Naruto really wanted. Everything else was so... not right now and here there could be solace. Figures it would be the last place he looked.

He didn't fight back the laugh that forced it's way out of his throat, perfectly content to be amused at the man's disdain for Naruto's personal opinion. He didn't stop the smile either. Or the way he leaned in, weight resting on his elbows and head tilted just so to the side. "Shit. Really? All this time and I didn't know," he added, the smile not sliding. Because it couldn't. For them to start taking the past lightly he couldn't let that quirk of the lips budge,"'cept you hit like one so I shoulda seen that coming."

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2009-11-10 10:45 pm UTC (link)
That earned him a half-hearted Look sent over the rim of his teacup as Neji drank again. It quickly turned into a scrutiny of the blond's fading black eye, and while Neji couldn't help the amusement to return at the other's laughter or smile, it didn't completely erase the reproaching tone from the Hyuuga's response.

Then again, when wasn't there one.

"Your skin must be more delicate than I assessed at first if all it takes to cause a bruise is confrontation with grandmother knuckles."

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2009-11-11 12:17 am UTC (link)
"You haven't met the old hags I know." And he said this in a completely serious tone. Because working in a bar of course implied that he came across all kinds. Including elderly women with mean right hooks.

Subconsciously, he lifted a hand to his eye in an effort to block the man's gaze, his fingers brushing over the area in thought. It had been a couple weeks and still the skin was bruised, although lightly. Sakura knew just the right way to heal it up quick and for that he was appreciative. It must have taken a lot of strength to fix him up rather than to give him another token of her stress to head back home with.

Drawing himself back to the whole point of this meeting, he brought his hand back down and let the smile fade. ". . . I never said I didn't earn it. I want you to know that."

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2009-11-11 07:26 am UTC (link)
Ah. He hadn't, had he?

Perhaps, he silently acknowledged with a wry smile, something had actually managed to get through the thick mop of blond and that hard skull. His shoulders quirked briefly before Neji, as well, grew serious.

I would have known better, He had half a mind to say.

"I was running out of ideas," He admitted instead, in a most careful tone, this time the one to train his eyes on the kitten. "But I believe it was necessary. For the both of us." In an absent-minded action, he ran the back of his fingers over his jaw before retracting them to prop his head onto his knuckles. "I doubt that's what you came to tell me, however."

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2009-11-11 08:13 am UTC (link)
A smile, no matter how small, was always a good sign. Of course he was too stupid to figure out that apologizing might be an appropriate course of action earlier on. The easy route didn't include taking a bus and losing one of the coolest belts he'd ever had. And he really did miss that damn belt...

The air was easier to breath once it had cleared a bit. This situation wasn't near as painful as he had thought it would be and for that much he would be grateful. "Punching a guy on his birthday is definitely running out of ideas," He agreed after letting the man speak, the kitten doing her best to stare down the awkward man from way down there on the counter that she sat perched. Like she didn't know whether to trust him or not, judging her actions by her 'fathers' body language. For now her eyes would stay glued. "Necessary. Say that to my eye hole. M'sure it thinks otherwise."

A snort. No, things wouldn't be laid on the table completely just yet.

"I came here for a few things and I don't quite know how to get through it all. But I got here. And brought my boo-boo. So you could kiss it better..." Pause. Sigh. Then a stare, completely intent on getting Neji's focus back on him, "And so I could say sorry. If I'm goin' by importance then those are up first."

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