Pairing(s): NejiTen

Strength

Tenten vowed, long ago she would make sure she would never be seen as weak. She vowed never to be like other useless girls, she promised she would be strong enough to be able to stand for herself. She didn't care about her hair, her weight, her height. She was going to be strong.

She was always strong, he respected her for it.

Neji fought and he fought, he trained all day, and she helped him no matter what, she would always put her own agenda aside when he needed a training partner. She would fall many times, but she never failed to get back up. Over and over they trained, better and better she grew, less and less had she fallen. He noticed. More and more he had requested her help, more and more he had smiled at her. She was ok.

Tenten knew girls were considered a weak link, her team mates knew as well. They knew she would not be a bother, she knew that she was trusted. She promised her team she would not be a burden, she promised herself she would never give up.

She never gave up, he would never let her.

Tenten had never failed a mission; she was with Neji on all his missions. They worked well together; they were the most known partnership. They both defended, they both fought. She was his backup, although she did the most killing. He would catch the attacks he knew she would miss; she watched his blind spot vigilantly. They both had sworn to each other they never would fail. They knew they wouldn't.

She had cried once, and she didn't like it. She had cried when her mother died, she didn't like that either. She had cried when her father died, and she decided no more. Only one person would be able to make her, and he already had her heart. He just didn't know. Not yet.

She refused to cry, he never would.

They had been on an assassination mission, the weapon was within his blind spot, she had taken a hit for him. She was poisoned, she kept moving, she kept fighting. They had yelled for her to stop, she was so close. For her, she was too close. She went for the kill, she was bleeding all over, poison was slowly killing her, but she had completed the mission. She was treated; he was with her the whole way. He didn't cry, she refused to.

She had never felt so close to a person, she had never felt the want, even need to give everything she was to him. Tenten was puzzled by this strange feeling, of utter helplessness, it was the first time she had felt this way, she was at his mercy, and he knew nothing of it. Neji looked at his team mate, he wondered about Tenten, why he had felt the great need to protect someone, much more than he felt he needed to protect the members of the main branch. Neither Neji nor Tenten knew it yet, but they were falling in love.

She was falling in love, so was he.

It was raining, and the students of Gai were training. Neji with Tenten, Lee and Gai. Lee would kick, Gai would dodge, Tenten would attack, Neji would throw her weapons back. Until Gai said training was over early due to the heavy rain, as he and Lee went for laps around the village, Neji and Tenten were left behind. Neji wanted to train more, despite the rain, and Tenten knew it even though it went unsaid, so she concealed herself in shrubbery and attacked her opponent again. It was nearly eight in the evening when they decided to stop. Tenten insisted on checking Neji for severe wounds, and vice versa. They rested on a tree branch, side by side and didn't know why, but awaited the sunset. Tenten rested her head on Neji's shoulder, and the sun went down. No words were needed, both Neji and Tenten knew, they were falling in love.

She was the one who always would believe in him, she was the one who would always be there. She was the one who would forever be ready to catch him if he fell, she is his guardian angel, she would always watch over him. She was the one always careful and gentle with him. Neji knew she was, because that is who Tenten is.

She would always be there, he knew.

It was raining, and he needed to travel to a far off village, she was coming, he knew she would. She was behind him, he had been ambushed, he ordered her to stay behind, she would not listen. She had protected him with everything she had while he had finished them, and they were off. They had found a cave to treat their wounds, she insisted on treating him first. He had left his bandaging kit; she had packed a spare, as always. She treated his wounds, and secretly drugged him asleep, saying he might have had a fractured leg. When he woke, he found she had delivered the scroll, and that he was well bandaged. They headed back, and they had finished ahead of time.

They had silently vowed to themselves. She had vowed he would forever know what it is like to be loved, and she vowed she would teach him how to love again. He had vowed he would protect her no matter what, that he would do what she wanted of him. Neji and Tenten were in love.

She was strong, because Love gives you strength. He was strong, because she gave him strength.

They were training again, and she had gotten better. He wondered how, since she had been doing better and better without his help. Was she training with someone else? He was jealous, he had to remember to ask her afterwards. Why was he so unfocused she wondered. After they were through, they sat on a tree branch; it was some sort of tradition since then was when they first realized they were falling in love. It was there Neji asked Tenten.

"Are you training with someone else?"

She had smiled, and shook her head. "I've been training by myself, so I can be more of a challenge to you." She smiled, and kissed him on the tip of his nose. "Should I?"

His face was impassive. "Don't."