Author's Note: Hi everyone! This is my first story in the Naruto universe and my first story in I think over 7 years. Quarantine has given me some time to revisit Naruto and now I can't get over how much I love NejiTen. This fic is a product of that and me trying to do anything to avoid studying for finals a few weeks ago.
This story will be in three installments and so far I have it all typed out; it's just a matter of uploading. (Just want to mention this in case anyone goes to my profile and realizes I started and never finished a different story haha). The more feedback I get, the more motivated I'll be to post the next two chapters! Anyway, hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto lol
Konoha was in its last few days of peace before the Great Ninja War—well as much peace as there can be while reconstructing the village after Pain. With war looming over their shoulders, Tenten decided to go train earlier than the rest of Team Guy. As much as she wanted to give the training her all— as much as she wanted to be prepared for whatever dark situation war could bring—the weight of her thoughts kept her from being at ease. When she began throwing her scrolls, her body went completely on autopilot. Her mind wandered thinking about what changes war would bring: would she be strong enough? How powerful would the enemy be? Would all her friends make it through the war alive? …
Just as she was about to mindlessly twirl two of her weapon scrolls into the air above her, a startling yet familiar voice interjected.
"Good morning, Tenten. Already training, I see?"
"AHhgh!" Tenten turned around and was shocked at how Neji had somehow sneaked up so close to her. To both their misfortune, the shock made it so that the scrolls weren't thrown in the proper direction or angle. Not meaning to have startled her, Neji's eyes became apologetic but they quickly grew wide as they followed Tenten's shocked gaze upwards as her twirling scrolls came down wrapping the two together. As they faced each other, weapons shot out around them and Tenten slumped down to the ground in defeat, bringing Neji down with her.
A little embarrassed Tenten sighed, "Oh jeez Neji. Sorry, my mind was somewhere else and you caught me off guard." As Neji tried to unravel the two of them from the scrolls, she continued "I wasn't expecting you or Lee until at least a half hour more." If it had been anyone else other than someone on her team, she probably would have felt way more humiliated or angered at the disruption; however, after spending almost every day with Neji, she didn't let the situation phase her much more.
Neji, on the other hand, had to admit that he felt a little sheepish about the predicament he had caused, but he quickly shrugged it off with a small smile. Instead, he then became a little concerned over what Tenten was thinking that made her so distracted. After years of training with her, her skill was something he could always trust to never waver. Something was certainly troubling her and, given his observation skills, it wasn't difficult to figure out. "No worries," he paused to connect his thoughts, "You were thinking about the war, weren't you?" Neji asked as he set the two free from each other.
Silence followed as they both started to pick up the weapons that had sprawled around.
No point in trying to hide it, Tenten thought as she faced the fact that after being a team all this time, there was no way she could completely hide her thoughts from Neji.
Once Tenten put away her weapons, she sighed again and decided to sit down leaning against a tree, looking up at the sky. "It's hard not to think about—it's war after all," Tenten finally responded as Neji sat down in the familiar spot next to her.
"I mean, we've never faced war before. If it were just another mission, we'd know what we'd be going up against. But this is just so… What if one of us…" not wanting to say the obvious fear, Tenten trailed off and quickly changed her worry to, "What's the village, or even the world, going to be like after the war?"
More silence followed as Neji thought of a proper answer to try and wave away his best friend's doubts.
"This village is strong. If we overcame the destruction Pain caused, we can overcome the war itself. Not to mention, now we'll have every shinobi from the great nations on our side," he finally responded.
"Yeah I guess so. But so much can change in such a short amount of time." Tenten tightly shut her eyes as she braced herself for the words that were about to come out of her mouth, "If I have to die for this village, I'll do it without hesitation but there's just so much life left to live, Neji," she finished, opening her eyes.
Neji was a little shocked at how the upbeat Tenten he had come to know was not her usual positive self. Before he could say anything though, Tenten continued rambling off what was on her mind.
"And maybe this is a bit personal and weird for me to say to you of all people," a smile formed on Tenten's face as she chuckled about what she was about to admit to her teammate, "but I want to live long enough to own a weapons shop one day. And I want to have a group of three genin of my own that I can train! To lead them as someone just as powerful but, you know, maybe not as weird as Guy Sensei."
Neji smirked at the common feeling they shared towards their rather intense Sensei. If she ever did get assigned to lead a team of genin, they would definitely be well taken care of and nurtured into fine shinobi. He imagined Tenten would always be overprepared with all the supplies her genin could ever possibly need.
Suddenly, Tenten became a lot quieter, "I want to have a family too—kids I can pass on my teachings to… But I guess the reason I was distracted earlier was because I realized I might not ever get the chance to do any of that."
Noticing how somewhat dark the conversation had turned, Tenten added jokingly, "maybe even a husband if he can handle me, I guess."
At this, Neji couldn't help but look down, shake his head and smile softly. Leave it to Tenten to somehow still find a way to lighten the mood, he thought. Usually, he felt mildly uncomfortable in situations like this, but he knew that with Tenten he could be at ease. He never really thought all that much about his future in that way. Afterall, all he ever did was train with his team or his clan. His duty was to protect the Hyugas and Konoha; thus, his training usually got in the way of finding a potential suitor. When he thought about it now though, he enjoyed the idea Tenten had mentioned about passing on teachings to his own kids one day.
He turned his head to face her and said, "We'll get through this Tenten. We've trained most of our lives to protect this village and I have a feeling we'll surpass whatever comes our way now. We all have each other's back and we won't let Naruto fall into the hands of the enemy." Neji paused, then quickly stood up and outstretched his hand to Tenten.
"Come on, let's go train so that we can make sure to win the war and so that you can do everything you want to do afterwards," he added with a gentle smile. Tenten gave a soft, genuine laugh as she grabbed his hand to get up.
"Always know what to say, huh Neji?" Tenten couldn't help but poke fun at her teammate as they started to spar together.
They both silently thanked the other. Tenten was grateful that Neji had spent the time listening to her. As for Neji, it was nice to have someone to discuss the war with—especially after Hiashi had declared him to be the one who would lead the Hyugas in the front lines.