Disclaimer: Sadly, Naruto is not mine.
Betaed by rainyrhapsody. (Thank you!)
Hyuuga Neji is not a pervert.
Anyone that might that would probably wake up in a hospital with broken bones, several bruises, a mild concussion and closed of chakra points.
However, Neji finds it extremely difficult not to peek through the wooden plank separating the hot springs. With the Byakugan, looking through wood is nothing, but Neji knows if he does peek, he won't be able to look at her brown eyes without blushing.
It's a first for him to crave so much, that would go against moral codes.
So, he swallows the nervous lump that has formed in his throat and turns his back at the offensive obstacle keeping her out of his sight.
Still his sensitive ears can easily pick up the sounds the wind carries over. The low hum of an old nursery song, the splash of water hitting soft skin, content and satisfied sighs from time to time that interrupts the nursery rhyme, the swaying whish of long hair…
With all the sound effects, Neji's mind could easily picture a tanned girl, relaxing in the midst of hot water, brown untamed curls swimming around her and brown eyes -a softer shade than her hair- sharp as ever, glancing through the hot steam. She is like a water nymph, taking hold of any rational thoughts with just a look, full pink lips curved into an inviting smile, her cheeks flushed from the heat, and she extends delicate fingers, water droplets sliding slowly over tanned skin.
Neji instantly dives into the hot spring, wishing it to be cold so that at least a shock of icy water would freeze his visible affections.
The first time Neji sees Tenten with her hair down, he gets stabbed.
This is not a pun.
He is fighting against a Kiri nin, the enemy's katana posing him some difficulty against his bare fists; from his active Byakugan, he catches waves of brown.
Tenten's hair, for the first time ever, comes undone in a fight and it's so long, and so soft looking and so brown that Neji can only stare, mouth agape, and ends up getting stabbed in the shoulder in his distraction.
Hyuuga Neji never regretted having that particular scar anyway.
He gets scolded of course, Tenten is annoyed and keeps poking his chest with her finger, while ranting about carelessness and other mundane things, but he is more focused on the brown curls reaching almost down to her hip and doesn't really catch most of it. He is suddenly filled with the heavy desire to reach out, and run his fingers through the brown mane. He wonders if it is as soft as it looks, and Neji has to bite his tongue to gain some of his senses back.
Anyone who complains about his always-neat-even-after-battles hair has never laid their eyes upon the beauty in front of him.
He also doesn't regret the adorable pout she gives, when Tenten realizes he isn't listening to her.
It is tradition more than duty to inform the clan head about the missions, save for classified information of course, so when Hiashi asks Neji to stay for tea, the young man isn't very suspicious about it.
"How are your teammates doing?" is the clan head's first question. Neji hides his surprise skillfully under the guise of drinking tea with his eyes closed.
"They are fine, Hiashi-sama."
The older man sips his tea quietly. His face is carved from stone and Neji can't predict Hiashi's thoughts. "Neji, you must know that you can ask for advice anytime you desire."
Neji is puzzled by his uncle's words so he asks, with a slight frown, "I am not quite following, Hiashi-sama."
The older man's lips curve knowingly, an expression that sends chills up Neji's spine for some reason. "Have you chosen a woman to court?"
Neji chokes on his green tea, nearly spilling the hot liquid over his vest. "Hiashi-sama! Why do you-"
"I apologize," he interrupts the blushing young man. "I didn't realize you had already chosen. Tenten was her name, I believe-"
This time, Neji does spill the whole cup over his lap and he curses inwardly when the hot tea burns there.
Hiashi keeps sipping his tea, either ignoring Neji's pain or oblivious of the squirming teen. (Likely the latter. Hiashi has never pretended to be a sympathetic person.)
Hiashi's eyes soften, and it's not amusement but regret. "Neji, I have wronged you and I wish you to know that I desire nothing but happiness for you. Even if this happiness is in the form of a clanless, orphaned, chunin girl." more regret laces his tone, Hiashi drinks his tea to calm down his nerves.
The genius Hyuuga, completely forgetting his burning parts, is rendered speechless at his uncle's content, and about Tenten of all things. He feels his cheeks warm slowly and Neji's chest feels lighter like he finally attained something he had been striving for.
"So, should you need advice about courtship, find me and I shall help." Hiashi closes his weary eyes. His chest hurts with the phantom pain he has been carrying for years. "In your father's stead, I will offer you my ear. I am positive Hizashi would have wanted that for you."
Neji's breath hitches in his throat and his eyes sting, at the mention of his father. Even after all these years, the young Hyuuga still misses and remembers his father dearly. Hizashi's deep voice reading him bedtime stories, his calloused hands adjusting his shaky posture and the same hands brushing his long brown hair, the warm smile he would give him in the mornings, the evident pride in his face when talking about his boy.
He misses his father so much.
The way that the embarrassing subject has shifted to the painful memories of his father has left him lost, and Neji isn't quite sure how to deal with it. So he breathes deeply, thanks the older man for his support, compliments the tea, and refuses the offer for courting advises.
With hurried steps, he strategically retreats to his room.
It is not running away - never let it be known that Neji Hyuga is a coward. But either way, it's the first time he's come close to it, whether it is from embarrassment or pain.
The first kiss Neji gets from Tenten is unexpected, but certainly not unwanted.
It's Tenten's birthday and Neji had promised weeks ago that he would take the girl out for dinner. So he definitely hadn't freak out on what to wear, he surely hadn't called the restaurant every half an hour to check their reservations and he most certainly had not taken three showers to calm his nerves. (He had taken four.)
Hyuuga Neji had not been running around like a headless chicken over a dinner. (No matter what Hanabi would tell you otherwise.)
The time came and Neji, who hadn't gone there two hours before the meeting, was waiting on his private table in the left corner near the window. He had asked Chouji about the restaurant days ago, figuring the Akimichi would know best where to eat, and he had not failed to disappoint.
The approaching chakra signature shook Neji out of his thoughts which come to a complete standstill at the sight of the birthday girl.
Tenten was wearing a dark blue sleeveless summer dress coming short to her knees. It hugged her curved chest, showing of soft bronze skin with its generous v-neck, and her chocolate curls were braided in a single braid that curved around her left shoulder, leaving her delicate neck bare for him to see.
Tenten's eyes found the frozen Hyuuga and the smile she sent at him made Neji feel lightheaded. She walked towards him with bouncy steps and sat, her bright smile never faltering..
"You look gorgeous."
The words slipped through his lips without missing a beat. Tenten stiled and took in the dumbstruck Hyuuga and smirked. She was suddenly glad that Ino had bullied her in the dress, despite her earlier loathness towards it.
Conscious of her warming cheeks, and trying not to look flustered, Tenten arranged her skirt in place. "Thank you."
Neji somehow managed socially acceptable conversations with the enthusiastic brunette without gaping too much at her. It helped that he couldn't decide where to look; the bare column of her throat begging to be nibbled on, soft pink lips teasing him with every word, the deep cleavage he wanted to trace with his fingers.
The young man swallowed hard. If he had thought the hot springs were bad, this is ten times worse. Neji bit the inside of his cheek, pushing down his lecherous thoughts about a certain brunette, the same brunette who seemed to glow with happiness at the moment, attracting other males' attention.
The Hyuuga contemplated if he could Gentle Fist the vessels of the overly interested eyes without ruining Tenten's night.
He wasn't sure, but Neji was willing to try.
The dinner ended too quickly for his liking but like a proper gentleman, he escorted Tenten to her house, as if he hadn't just been thinking indecent thoughts about the lady in question.
"Thank you Neji, the dinner was great," Tenten said as she turned towards the Hyuuga. Tenten gave him a bone crushing hug and another warm smile. She had smiled a lot this night.
The hug was unexpected, and Neji's heart picked up a faster rhythm, and inclined his head to hide his flushing cheeks. Thankfully, it was dark enough that she wouldn't see his embarrassment."I too, enjoyed this night." After mustering some courage he added, "And your company is also enjoyable."
The weapon mistress blinked owlishly and turned a lovely shade of pink.
"Neji." She stammered out his name. Neji realizes that moment how close they were. Her bare arms were touching his clothed ones, and even through the cotton material, Neji could feel her soft skin. Her chest brushed his with every breath, making his skin tingle and crave for more.
But he wasn't sure, as smart as he was; he didn't have a clue if she wanted…no, if she was willing to have something with him. This could've easily been Tenten just wanting some quality time with an old teammate.
The thought was enough to leave Neji breathless with an aching heart.
She whispered his name again and her warm breath licked his lips. When did she…
And they kissed.
It was a small gesture, really, but tender, warm and loving , no different from a kiss a mother would leave on her child's forehead. It was over as soon as it started.
Neji backed off, cursing inwardly when Tenten just stood there unresponsive.
Did he destroy any chance he had? Was it too soon? Did Tenten saw him as just a friend?
Question after question came up in Neji's mind as he squirmed in discomfort.
He was about to apologize for his straightforward behaviour when Tenten all but bodily launched herself on him. Neji grabbed the girl mid-air but it still knocked the air out of his lungs, Tenten was kissing him, and he needed air but he needed Tenten more.
And what a kiss it was.
It was breathtaking, toe curling, head rolling, skin tingling, and neither Tenten nor Neji felt like breaking it up anytime soon. They made it to her apartment, unlocking the doors and passing through the security seals to go up the stair, only stumbling a few times, and finally ending up on the girl's bed. Tenten ran her fingers over the many scars Neji had and he growled seductively in response. Neji returned the favor with his tongue and Tenten whimpered his name in desire.
When dawn approached and sunlight shone through Tenten's little window, the Hyuuga looked over the girl lying next to him, unsure what exactly he should be doing, this being a first for him. With a flutter of eyelids and a soft groan, Tenten woke up with dazed brown eyes, saving Neji from his internal conflict, and Neji fell in love with her once more.
"Tenten, does this." He gestured at the the covers and discarded clothing with his hand, blushing faintly. "Are we… you want… I am…" Words failed the hailed genius as he attempted to order his thoughts to no avail.
Tenten laughed wholeheartedly at how flustered the ever composed ninja was, taking some pride at being the cause of Neji's distraction. She knew Neji had never been good with emotions so taking pity on him, Tenten leaned over to give him a lingering kiss that warmed the both of them inside.
"For a genius you're kinda dense Neji."
He blinked. And then Neji was over her again, biting, licking, touching.
After all Hyuuga Neji, had the upper hand when it came to all battlefields.