Author's Notes: NejiTen. This one is a little abstract, I guess you could say. Just a slice of life really. Set sometime in the dark and distant future. Enjoy.
One More Moon
For the first time ever, he hits her with a purpose, solid strikes that land where and when he wants them to land, the edge of his hand and fingers coming down hard against her bones. She grits her teeth and stands perfectly still as his arms move in a blur, dislodging the raindrops that cling to his skin and drip from her hair. Over head, lightning cracks, illuminating the ravaged battlefield and the two Rain-nins awaiting their time to die.
Through the pain, Tenten keeps her eyes on Neji, watching through her painted mask how the veins near his eyes pulse in time with his heart, how he seems to want to bite his lip but can't remember how. The blows hurt and he knows it but she can tell he's trying to be gentle with her. Even amidst the bloody corpses, in the middle of a brief intermission of battle, Hyuuga Neji is trying to be gentle.
Tenten wants to be amused, but her body is screaming at her.
It's over almost before she realizes it. She sways on her feet and he doesn't reach out to steady her. She's glad of it too because she's never been weak and she's not about to start, despite the fact that the man she loves has just used his technique on her.
Inside, she feels her depleted chakra gush up in a torrent, released. She trembles. For some odd reason, Gai-sensei's voice floods her mind.
The Byakugan can see tenketsu which are invisible to the naked eye. Neji can close them all or open them, depending on his wishes.
Tenten is opening.
She can feel it and its like flying only she's still on the ground. She lifts her katana with new strength and grins, an expression she knows he can see despite her mask.
"I'm ready again."
He nods and turns, showing her a profile splattered with blood. He's tired and she knows it because she is walking the fine line between exhaustion and unconsciousness. She won't fail him though, she can't, and so she strides forward past him, determined. She's going to protect him because he is Neji, a member of the powerful Hyuuga clan whose blood limit is so important to Konoha.
And she loves him.
In the darkness, she stabs her katana into the ground in front of her and raises two scrolls, wondering if her enemies can see her. If she can, she hopes they come for her. She's ready.
Kneeling suddenly, she slaps the scrolls onto the ground, performing the needed seals with blinding speed. She feels Neji's eyes on her and she smiles because she knows he likes watching her do this. He once told Lee he thought she looked graceful afterwards. He still didn't know that she had heard him.
Finishing, she crosses her arms as the two ninja rush her, kunai's raised.
"Rising Twin Dragons!"
A cloud of smoke and dragons scream, swirling skywards. She jumps, twisting her body to begin the revolution, her hands hitting the dragons which are now scrolls, weapons appearing from thin air.
She let's them fly without warning and watches as they find their mark. The ninjas aren't down yet, of course not. She did not expect it and she's almost happy. She would have been disappointed otherwise.
She lands daintily, the two scrolls winding down around her, folding and refolding. She wonders if Neji finds it beautiful.
She fights fluidly, like one of the raindrops that ping against the steel of her weapons. She doesn't mind having two opponents if it means Neji has a moment to gather himself. Her katana hisses against another, sliding and spitting sparks into the night. Tenten feels herself burning with chakra unrestrained, too bright against the dark of evening. She's flaring like a candle right before it's extinguished. She only has a few moments before she's going to be gone. She has to make them count.
She stabs one of her specially made kunais through one of the ninjas heart. He drops without a sound but she's already turning to face the stronger of the two, refocusing as she feels her inner flame tremble. His katana catches her, slicing a clean line down her side, cutting away a part of her shirt and revealing the bandages that bind her breasts.
He hesitates, startled, and she smirks as she realizes he didn't know she was a woman. One of her shurikens embeds itself in his shoulder. The rain falls harder. She opens her mouth to taunt him, strangely confident with one shoulder exposed and pale steel in her hands.
But then she's falling and his hand is around her throat, the other crushing the bones in her wrist together until she was forced to drop her sword. Her mask slips away. They land together in the wet grass, his weight straddling her, his breath coming too hard and too fast. She uses her free hand to try and pry at the grip on her neck, cutting off her air.
Her chakra goes out like a dying star.
Tenten goes limp, pushed beyond her limits, her body unable to respond to any of her demands. Her attacker's eyebrows draw together over his masked nose and mouth, confused about her sudden pliability before feeling her sudden drop in energy. He chuckles harshly.
"Looks like you're all worn out." His hand releases its choke hold and moves southwards towards her bandages, his fingers moving over the tops of her breasts. She summons up enough strength to spit in his face, curses leaving her lips as quickly as needles.
It's really unnecessary though. An arm appears from nowhere and slams against the ninja's chest, palm flat against his heart. A whoosh of chakra accompanies the move and the man coughs blood as he falls over. Neji's finishing move. Tenten breathes again and looks for him.
He's standing next to her, out of breath, veins easing around white-silver eyes as he straightens, a trace of anger in his tightly pressed lips. He disregards the ninja as a further threat and kneels beside her, knowing she has nothing left to give him except the one thing he won't accept. Not yet.
"I'm done now," she whispers and he nods. His eyes see everything.
He helps her sit up, one arm around her back, undeterred by the slashes in her shirt. He is a Hyuuga through and through and is beyond those things. Or at least, she knows that's what he thinks, whether or not it's actually true is another matter. She grits her teeth against the soreness of her muscles, determined not to collapse. She somehow manages to stand, tucked against Neji's side as her whole body trembles, devoid of energy. She won't be able to walk, not until she has rested. Neji does the only logical thing and lifts her bridal style, his eyes registering his own exhaustion.
They leave the field but don't go far. They're not quite sure the last Rain-nin is dead and besides, they have some cleanup to do. Neji finds them some shelter from the rain under a close group of trees and sets her at their base, propping her against the trunk of one. She groans despite herself and closes her eyes briefly, opening them again to find Neji watching her. His eyes are unreadable.
"You overextended yourself," he tells her, sitting down near her. She manages a close resemblance to her usual smile.
"With your help."
He doesn't reply and she closes her eyes again, weary. Silence reigns until she starts to feel cold, her body shivering reflexively. She'd like to rub her arms but the fact is she can't even lift them. She's so sleepy. Really, if she could just get some sleep…
"You'll get sick," he says in her ear as he settles her against him. Her eyes widen as she realizes she's in his lap, pressed so close she can hear his heart beat. Does he realize that he's holding her? "Stay awake," he commands, "You can't fall asleep cold."
Perhaps even more startling is that he runs his palm over her arms, the friction warming her chilled skin and stimulating her run down chakra circulatory system. A little life returns to her, just enough for a slight blush to mar her cheeks as he rubs her shoulders, her back, even her legs. Under his fingers her blood starts to run again, awakening her, and reopening her wounds. He bandages the more severe ones. A medical-nin will see to the rest when they return.
She checks his as well, as feebly as she can in her weakened state. There's a kunai wound in his thigh that worries her but he wraps it without a word and she stays quiet because it's Neji and he wants her to be quiet.
"They'll come again in the morning for their dead," she says quietly, half-asleep against him. His arms tighten around her and she feels his reply rumble in his chest before he even speaks.
"We won't be here in the morning."