When Neji died, Tenten took it frankly. Frankly, because she was a shinobi. Frankly, because she was only a teammate. Frankly, because her emotions were in a turmoil and she had no idea how to deal with them. Frankly, because she had never gotten the chance to ever confess her heart.
When Neji died, Tenten was in the drab background. She could not be Naruto nor Hinata because she wasn't the main character of the war. She could not hold his hand and hear his dying words, like they could. In the rush of the war, the only sound she could hear was metal against metal. In the rush of pain, all she could hear was her trembling heart.
When Neji died, Tenten cursed Naruto and Hinata. She cursed the war, she cursed Madara for causing it, and she cursed the Jubi. She cursed them instead of cursing Neji for dying.
When Neji died, Tenten didn't cry. She convinced herself to focus on the enemy in front of her, but when the kunai slipped from her hand for the first time, she knew she couldn't fight with blurred eyes. She convinced herself the water droplets on the ground were her sweat.
When Neji died, Tenten could barely see him. The oncoming flurry of enemies didn't stop to eulogize him. It didn't stop to martyrize him. The war didn't stop for his death, but she did.
When Neji died, Tenten didn't look away. She watched as he was pierced. She watched his blood spurt out, painting the ground an ugly crimson. She wondered why he didn't look her way.
When Neji died, Tenten forgot about the war for a second. She forgot about her duties as a shinobi in the world war. Instead, she only wanted to run to him, to hold his hand, to tell him unspoken truths, to see him one last time.
When Neji died, Tenten forgot to notice. She forgot to notice her actions and the actions of others around her. She forgot to notice that in the hurrying world, she was the only one stopped. So when the misfired kunai was projected her way, she forgot to notice.
When Neji died, Tenten also died.
When Neji died, he didn't deactivate his Byakugan. He used it to look past Naruto and Hinata to search for Tenten in the overflowing crowd. He had no reason for his actions – somehow, his gut had told him he would be reassured if he saw his teammate alive and well for the last time. Despite his scrutiny, the blood soon seeped into his eyes, permanently clouding his vision. He did not find the kunoichi in his graying world.
When Neji died, his world was red, then gray.
When Tenten died, her world was only Neji.
When they died, they were finally together.