Author: Wilted Paper Flowers PM
Princess Tenten, and Prince Neji, enemies from the very beginning. When requested to marry, they have no choice but to choose the other. What happens when they have to meet? NejiTen.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Neji H. & Tenten - Chapters: 7 - Words: 16,967 - Reviews: 158 - Favs: 69 - Follows: 99 - Updated: 10-05-07 - Published: 04-08-06 - id: 2883159
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: Ying Yang
A/N: I'm really really sorry for the delay in updating, and I know I shouldn't have an excuse, but I went off to boarding school this summer, and was therefore deprived of anything fanfiction…I'm so sorry! Also, I've just started ninth grade…Hope you'll all forgive me, and review as usual! I even made it to compensate for the long wait! xD Oh, and one last thing: many apologies if this chapter is…strange compared to the other ones. I'm a little rusty…I'll stop now.
Disclaimer: Nothing belongs to me. Except for, of course, the plot. Of sorts.
Chapter 7: The Loss of All Things Precious
Birds chirped their usual morning song as Tenten's eyes snapped open. If memory served her right, today was another outing—this time, with Sakura. She smiled eagerly, and suddenly couldn't wait to jump out of bed.
Yelling for Grandma to come and help dress her, Tenten donned her silk shoes, and dashed for the dresser. Pinning up her hair in the customary two buns, and waiting for her Grandma to stop bustling around her, she looked at herself in the mirror to make sure she looked presentable, and beamed.
"You look happy today," Grandma looked at her suspiciously.
Tenten shrugged, choosing not to answer, and skipped out the door. "See you later, Grandma!"
And ran right into the Korean Prince.
"Oh, good morning," Tenten said, surprised. She quickly bowed after taking a step back.
The Prince bowed back, smiling at her warmly. "How are you today? You look radiant."
Tenten blushed. "Er…"
He looked at her questioningly, and she looked away.
"I—I can't tell you." She said apologetically, and he nodded in understanding.
"That's alright. I'll let you be on your way, then."
They bowed at each other again, and Tenten rushed down the hallway, cheeks hot. Inwardly, she berated at herself. How could she still harbor these feelings for him? It really had to be stopped.
Her face broke into a wide smile at the thought of the Prince. He's so cute, though.
"By the name of the Hyuuga, why is this place so squashed?!" Sakura yelled in frustration, and Tenten blew the bangs out of her eyes so she could see clearer.
"Be quiet, or else people will hear you." She snapped, irritated as well. "We're almost there, anyway."
Sure enough, daylight shone into the tunnel a few meters ahead. Sakura growled, and began to crawl in earnest, ignoring the pain in her back and shoulders. Tenten sighed. It was much easier coming out alone.
Bursting out of the cramped hole, Sakura stretched in the sunlight. Her spirits lifted instantly as she looked at the hustle-bustle around her. "It's awesome out here!"
Tenten scowled, her face dirty after suffering from a kick courtesy of the pink-haired woman in front of her. "Good for you."
Sakura's stomach growled. "I'm hungry," She complained.
Tenten sighed. "Alright…Let's go to Ling's." Why does it seem like I'm the lady-in-waiting, and she's the princess?!
Grabbing Sakura's grubby hand, they headed down the hill to Ling's restaurant. Tenten pushed open the wooden doors and stepped over the threshold. She was stupefied to see that it was empty.
"Hello?" She yelled, voice bouncing off the drab walls and around the room. "Anyone here?"
"Hello?" Sakura ventured as well, closing the double doors behind her.
"Ling?" Something about the stillness was absolutely unsettling. Tenten raced through the restaurant, throwing open doors and windows everywhere, peering into nooks and crannies to find any trace of human life. "Ling? Mrs. Huang?" There were layers of dust everywhere, signaling that the pair, or anyone else, hadn't been here for a few days.
"Anyone here?!" She screamed. When there was no answer at all, and the last echo had died down, Tenten turned to Sakura in defeat. "They're not here." She said, eyes worried.
Sakura clasped Tenten's hands in hers. "Don't worry, maybe it's not as bad as you think. Maybe they went out for a vacation or something, they just forgot to tell you." Tenten shook her head.
"Maybe," She said in such a pitiful, doubtful voice that Sakura's heart couldn't help but to twinge for her.
"Oh, Tenten…" Sakura reached forward to hug her, and Tenten frowned into her shoulder.
"I just can't help but shake the feeling that something bad has happened to Ling…"
And that's when the doors burst open again.
The man now known as Itachi averted his eyes from his partner. "Aa. It is only a matter of waiting for the royal house to initiate the plan now."
"And then everything will be ours."
The man in green shook his head sadly. "Sorry, Princess. We're here to take you back home."
Tenten stepped in front of Sakura, pushing her and edging towards the back door of the restaurant. "But…what if I don't want to?"
"His Highness's orders, Miss. I'm sorry, but we can't disobey or fail him." Gai stated. "Come with us, please. I plead of you. If you don't, your father shall be very angry with you. I do not want to do this."
The Princess froze in the middle of the room, pretending to think. "I don't know...maybe..."
Her martial arts teacher beamed at her. "Well then, that makes matters easier. You have not lost your youth, my flower!"
"I think the phrase to properly get across what I mean to say is, 'I won't come quietly.'" Tenten said, and pushed a startled Sakura out the door.
"Run, run, run!!" Tenten screamed.
"Go after them!" Gai demanded of his soldiers. "We need to get the Princess back in the City of Youth as fast as possible!"
"Tenten," Sakura panted, pink hair brushing against her face as she looked back at the agile men running after them. "What are we going to do? We should just go back with them…"
Tenten gritted her teeth in concentration. "I can't! I need to go find Ling and her mother! And this is my only chance for freedom…If I go back home now, I'll be killed!"
A rough hand reached out and barely skimmed against Sakura's wrist. "Tenten!" She yelled in horror.
"I got you, I got you!" Yanking on Sakura's other hand, Tenten took a great leap onto the rooftops of people's homes, thanking the Gods above that she had learned the ancient techniques. Maybe we can lose them this way…
And she took a sharp turn towards the city gates.
A hint of pink dashing across the rooftops ten houses away caught his eye, and with a great neigh of his horse, he was off.
"Stop here." The Princess whispered, a finger pressed against her lips. She crept over to the edge of the house, peering down. No one.
She motioned for Sakura to come follow her, and they held hands. "On the count of three, we're going to jump…"
"I'm afraid you won't be." A low voice spoke up from behind them. Swiveling around, the two girls were surprised to see Neji standing there on the other end of the roof, white eyes staring down upon them. "Sorry to interrupt your little…escapade, but I must end it here." He stepped towards the two. "Come with me."
Tenten lifted a doubtful eyebrow at him. "You can't possibly think that I would go with you."
Neji raised his own eyebrow, and mock-bowed at her. "Rest assured, Princess. I will make sure the blame is upon me."
The Princess looked insulted. "Do you think that I am that gullible? Do you think Father will buy your lie?"
The sound of approaching footsteps brought the three out of their reverie.
"Make your decision quickly now. Your Father's men are coming."
Tenten hesitated, looking at his now outstretched hand, and reluctantly nodded. "Alright."
Neji led the two off the roof, and seated them on his horse. "Act calm and happy." He said curtly. "Act like it was just a game."
The two nodded dumbly, Tenten clutching at the horse's reins angrily and nervously. She was going to Hell for this, she knew. And that despicable Prince! How dare he think that all Chinese were stupid and would be so trusting as to believe what he had to say!
"You know, I'm only accepting your offer because there's no other way to go back in a decent manner. My Father will still find out the truth, and he will still punish me, so there is really no point in helping us."
Sakura smiled secretly at her lady's gruff voice, and Neji answered with a 'hn'.
All three were startled when Gai suddenly materialized next to them.
"Good day, Neji ohji-sama." He bowed courteously. "I see you have…ah…caught the Princess."
Neji gave what could have almost been a smile, although it did not reach his cold white eyes. "We were playing a rather wild game of hide-and-seek. She may have gone a little out of hand…"
Gai nodded understandingly. "Of course." He turned to the princess.
"Yosh! Princess Tenten, please make sure that doesn't happen next time. And also, do notify your Father the next time you leave the palace, he is a little more than worried for you." He shot her an uncharacteristically somber Look, and Tenten tried to swallow her fear.
He beamed, and gave a 'V' sign. "All is in peace now!"
"Gai!" Lee popped out of nowhere.
"Lee! See--for we have finally caught the Princess!" Gai ran to his apprentice, and hugged him.
"Gai! I'm so glad!" Lee cried.
Together, the two ran off into the direction of the Palace.
Tenten sighed, rubbing her forehead. Sakura looked after them wonderingly.
"Are they always like that?" She inquired, and Tenten nodded, lips pursed.
Neji cleared his throat.
"Right." Tenten gave the go-ahead. "We should leave now."
That last, of course, punctuated by Granny.
Tenten smiled uneasily at all of them. "I'm fine, don't worry about m—"
"Your Highness," Li Min came up to her. "Your Father wishes to see you in the throne room."
Tenten's eyes widened. She looked towards where Sakura and Neji were standing, fear apparent on her facial features. Sakura mouthed a "good luck", and Neji just snorted, striding quickly away.
Tenten gulped, trying to mask her fear. She was in for it now.
A soldier she identified as Uchiha Sasuke stepped between them, blocking Tenten from making any contact with the two.
"Your Father is not pleased with you." He murmured to her, and she looked helplessly over his shoulder at Ling.
"Let her be," The cold voice of suppressed fury reverberated throughout the room, and Tenten gasped at the sight of her father, perched high upon his golden throne. He looked down at her, eyes flashing at her.
She stepped back from Sasuke, and he retreated to his spot among the shadows.
Shoulders back, chest forward, spine straight. Tenten reminded herself.
"Father," She bowed, and when the Emperor made no move to speak, she ran to where Ling lay.
"Ling!" She exclaimed upon seeing her friend's ashen face.
The girl smiled weakly. "Tenten…"
Kneeling to bring the girl into her lap, Tenten smoothed down her friend's hair.
"What happened to her?" She asked Mrs. Huang, whose bloodshot eyes indicated she had been crying for some time and desperately needed sleep.
"Her sickness came back." She croaked. "Oh, forgive me, Ten—I mean, Princess Tenten! I know we never should have come, but she was bleeding so much, I couldn't stop it, and I had to come here and beg for help!" She started sobbing again.
"And help you shall receive." The Emperor spoke up again.
"Min," He gestured to an official. "Take the mother and daughter to Doctor Xie. He will know what to do."
As the duo were escorted away, he directed his attention towards the lone girl kneeling on the ground.
"It seems like this is not the only time you have defied me and escaped from the walls of this palace without my consent." The Emperor stated. "You know I have no choice, Tenten."
The Princess jerked her head.
The old woman stepped forward.
"Escort her to the dungeons, and make sure she gets her fill."
Tenten's caretaker flinched almost unnoticeably, and lifted the Princess up by the upper arm, helping her out the door.
That same darned voice.
"Yes, Prince Neji?" The Emperor sighed. "Is there something you would like to say?"
"Princess Tenten had nothing to do with leaving the Forbidden City today. It was completely my fault; I required her...assistance in some matters." The baritone of his voice was emotionless, and his opaque eyes challenged the Emperor's silently.
The Emperor looked amused. "So it may be. But that doesn't mean she doesn't deserve what she shall receive." He waved his hand.
Pain clouded her mind once more, and she heard a loud crack. The soldiers standing guard and Granny raced towards her. She couldn't hold back anymore.
"Her fingers are all broken." Granny whispered to the men surrounding her. "Go get a doctor, quick!"
Warm tears coursed down her face as Granny tried to soothe her pain, hugging her close to her chest.
"Oh, child. I'm so sorry, but I told you not to go out! You and your mother are so alike, so adventurous and reckless…"
"I hope Father's happy now." Tenten ground out. "My fingers will never be the same again…"
Granny sighed as a blue-robed man raced in.
"Oh, come, child. You know your father only wants what's best for you. You know you were endangering yourself by going outside. Now, the doctor's here. Maybe he will ease your pain a little."
Tenten closed her eyes and didn't answer. The slow agonizing process of bandaging her fractured fingers started.
"Neji ohji-sama," Sasuke leaned in the doorway, and Neji turned to him. "Your investigation results have come in." Neji raised an eyebrow. "The ones from your spies…regarding him." The warrior's onyx eyes darkened.
"Hn." Neji focused on the letter in front of him. "Bring it in."
Sasuke shook his head. "You don't get it, do you? You need to go there."
Sasuke rolled his eyes in exasperation. "For a Prince, you are truly dumb. The interrogation room, of course."
Setting down his brush immediately, Neji stood up, almost upsetting his calligraphy set.
Await the eighth chapter, and you will see!
Review, review, review! Thanks all, for having so much patience with this slow story! T-T