Finding a Name:
I don't own Naruto. I am a very poor college student so please don't sue me. Besides, I am not making any money off of this. Thank you and have fun reading this.
This is set in the future. Everyone is around 17-18 yrs of age.
"Did you hear, Neji?" Rock Lee jumped up and down, flames burning in his dark round eyes. "We have to do something! Where's Gai-sensei? Where's Gai-sensei?"
Neji continued walking, ignoring his once-comrade when they were still genins. Many years have passed since then and while some ninjas have matured…others, like Lee, have not. Still, he needed a training partner this week and Lee, with his repertoire of taijutsu techniques might even give a decent challenge to the bored white-eyed jounin.
"Oh, I hope she doesn't hurt any of them. But you know, that's good though if she does…she might scare all of them away and then she can blossom…"
"Lee," Neji interrupted. "What are you talking about?"
Lee's eyes get wider, if that was possible. His mouth dropped into an O and it looked like he was trying to hold in a scream. "You don't know? I can't believe you don't know. Poor Tenten. A beautiful flower like her in this vast village of leaves and you don't know what's happening to her?"
Neji activated his Byakugen and glared at the Second green beast of Konoha. "Lee, short and to the point. What is wrong with Tenten?"
Lee gulped and started nodding his head furiously. "She's turning eighteen."
"Other clans from other villages can," and Lee formed quotation marks with his fingers, " 'adopt' her since she has no clan."
Neji turned his sight away from Lee and focused it on a single falling leaf. "Good, she should be happy. She'll have a clan. She'll have roots. Is that why she can't train with me this week?"
Rock Lee, very scandalized, jumped in front of Neji and blocked his view of the trees. He shook the Hyuga heir and started crying, not realizing or not caring that what he is doing is actually very dangerous. Neji doesn't like to be touched. Period.
"Neji, Tenten will be married away-she'll have to leave Konoha. No clan from Konoha has asked to adopt her. To adopt means to be married into the clan when one is eighteen years of age. Many shinobis from the Village of the Mist, Village of Lightening, and Village of Sand have come to ask her to join their clan." Lee let go of Neji and sighed. "I mean, yeah, some men from our village actually wanted to ask her but…"
"…" Neji kept quiet and crossed his arms.
"…well, they all thought you…you have dibs on her. They were afraid to incur the wrath of the Hyuga genius." Lee nodded his head as the look of surprise flitted across Neji's face briefly. "So, since nobody has asked her, other villages can now try and woo her into their family. Aren't you worried Neji?"
"She'll say no." Neji uncrossed his arms and resumed walking towards their training area.
"How can you be sure?" Flailing his limbs around, Lee hopped after Neji. "She might be yearning to be part of a clan and…"
"Lee, shut up." Neji stopped as they already arrived at the training area. He had activated his Byakugen while walking and quite abruptly turning around and hit his palm dead center on Lee's chest. The taijutsu master flew backwards and almost hit a tree, but luckily, he regained control and pushed himself off and straight towards the Hyuga genius. Lee quickly untied the weights on his leg so as to increase his speed by a hundred fold. But still, Neji was able to track him with his Byakugen and block the attacks that Lee threw his way. To any spectators' eyes, the two were just a blur, melting into the air due to movements so fast that the only time they can be seen are the times when their bodies connect to each other forcibly and slow down in just that slight fraction of a time to allow light to bounce off and for sound waves to be emitted.
Approximately two hours later, Neji held up his hand. Lee stopped his kick midway and lowered his leg to come to a relax stance. The Hyuga stood still, as if listening to the sounds around the forest. He turned his head to a certain direction and stared hard for a few minutes. Lee hurried over to his side. He felt dread creeping its way to his heart as he realized that Neji was looking in the direction of Tenten's house. Neji just nodded his head, deactivated his Byakugen, and leaped forward. Lee followed without a sound; both shinobis gathered chakra to their feet and in no time with no sound arrived at the door of Tenten's apartment.
All was quiet at first, but then Lee and Neji both heard several things hitting the walls. Being as that they once part of Team 13 with Tenten, the weapons specialist, they know and could recognize the sounds of various types of projectiles. A shuriken, five senbon needles, and two kunais were thrown successively. Lee's eyes widened as he heard the unmistakable whisper of Tenten's katana being drawn from its sheath. She only pulled that out when she is furious. Even Neji raised his eyebrow as the next sound that followed was the sound of her kodaichi being drawn in her other hand. A katana and kodaichi separately is deadly in the hands of Tenten, but when put together…it means impossibility of escape without torture and death. She really must mean business.
Dead silence. No sound, except for their slight breathing. Then, the twangs of a kodaichi and katana hitting the floor…but the sound lacked force, which means Tenten must have voluntarily dropped them. Neji quickly activated his Byakugen and stared through the door. What he saw made him furious, but since he was raised in the house of the Hyuga clan, one learned how to control the expression of emotions. Rock Lee, however, noted the slight frown on Neji's face and the fisting of his palms. He couldn't control himself and, with a comical yell, Lee kicked down Tenten's door.
Tenten ignored the two intruders and just stared hard at the male shinobi standing disheveled across from her. One of his ears was bleeding slightly from the kunai she had thrown. Five scratches marked his face from the five senbon needles. He also had a kunai slash on his neck and a shuriken scratch on his arm.
"I thought you never miss." The man grinned wolfishly at her. "Lucky for me you turned me down otherwise I would have brought a 'defective' kunoichi into my clan. I see that your skills have been widely exaggerated. One hundred percent accuracy, my ass!" He eyed her up and down and smirked. "But your skills don't matter if you just want to be my lover. I…"
"She never misses her target." Lee interrupted furiously. "You should go to the medic center and have those examined. Otherwise, you'll find that you won't be able to make the journey back home alive."
The man growled back. "What are you talking about? I'm perfectly fine. She didn't hit any organs and barely scratched through my skin."
"Her weapons are deceptive." Neji's monotone voice pierced through the thick tension. "I would say they are laced with curare, considering where she aimed those weapons. Five on the face would paralyze your muscles in your nose and your mouth, so that you won't be able to scream for help. One on your arm, your dominant arm, to render your favored arm useless in combat. One on your neck to stifle upper movements of your body, making it easier for her to hit your heart and lungs with another set of weapons if she so chooses. And one on your ear, to render you deaf on one side and to throw off your balance so that you would be less able to dodge her projectiles, even though its futile considering her accurate aim. Slow acting so that you would lower your guard and believe yourself to have the upper hand."
Tenten just nodded her head.
Lee gravely advised him. "Five minutes-or else it's irreversible. You better run."
Neji inclined his head and suddenly, he was in front of Tenten, blocking the other male shinobi's arm from hitting his friend with her own katana. He was fast, but not as fast as Neji or Lee. Then, before anyone could blink, the white-eyed shinobi performed his 64 Hands and effectively block the chakra points of his opponent. Then, he knocked him unconscious and threw the body to the taijutsu master, who effortless caught him. "Take him to the medic center before its too late. If he dies, another war might start up."
Lee nodded enthusiastically and quickly sped out, leaving a trail of dust. Neji deactivated his Byakugen and closed his eyes. He took his jounin jacket off and gave it to Tenten. She wordlessly took it and put it on to better cover her indecency.
He couldn't believe how much anger was still residing within him. But the sight of Tenten as he looked through her door with his Byakugen was something he could never forget. Her face was slightly bruised on one side and her hair, which looked to have been styled up with hair ornaments, was loose and flowing. Her mandarin red dress was ripped up in the front, her shoulders exposed and only one thin strap of cloth near her neck was holding the piece together precariously. Her boobs threaten to fall out and her stomach was showing due to a ripped pulled out piece. The bottom of her dress looked worse and appeared to have been torn apart with a blunt kunai, which Neji guess was not of Tenten's doing. But Tenten, being Tenten, had a pair of shorts underneath, which didn't show any signs of damage. It looked like Tenten was able to get to her weapons before her shorts were harmed in any way. Just thinking about what that male shinobi had done to make her look this way boiled his blood in anger.
"How many more?" He asked evenly with his eyes still closed. He heard shuffling in the background as Tenten picked up the weapons strewn all over her house.
"The Hokage doesn't know how long this will last." She sighed and stared at her broken table. "For this week, I have to appear civil and courteous. Otherwise, I would send out the wrong message."
Tenten nodded her head. "Apparently, the political stuff is very complicated. The Hokage-sama understands that I don't want to deal with this. But since the shinobis of the other village are interested in me as…as a 'breeding' tool, I have to appear at least a bit welcoming or else they might take it as snobbish and rude attitude and lack of respect and translate it as Konoha lacking respect for them." She gripped the katana handle tightly before sliding the blade gently into its sheath and releasing it on the ground. "So I have to dress up and just politely say no. But…he forced himself Neji." She angrily faced her teammate. "I couldn't be civil if he's ripping apart my dress like that." Wiping her tears quickly, Tenten gave a quick laugh. "I didn't have my weapons nearby because I thought that might give them the wrong impression-one of me lacking trust in them even though truly I don't trust them at all."
Suddenly, the weapons expert felt two hands slide up her back and enfold her in a hug. She released all her pent up tears and wrapped her arms around the neck of her best friend and training partner. She wanted to be strong, she didn't want to cry in front of him…but it was too hard. And still, more tears came-from embarrassment of the situation, from shame of her lack of control, from anger that now he will think of her as weak, and most of all, from how helpless she felt in that interval after her 'suitor' lunged for her and before she found her weapons case. She started hiccupping as she tried to take control and stop the tears from dampening the pristine shirt of Neji. Bordering on hysteria, she was about to push herself away from him when he started stroking her hair to calm her down. Her hiccups slowed down, her tears ceased, and her cries turned to whimpers to sniffles to deep even breaths.
"Maybe I should just say yes and be done with all this nonsense…" she whispered.
Neji pulled back and looked straight at her. With his Byakugen, he could see everything. Just that thought had her pulling his jounin jacket closer around her body, as if to shield herself away from his prying eyes.
"If I had a clan, I wouldn't have to go through this thing. I really should just say yes…"
"Does it mean that much to you to find a clan?"
"I…I…" Tenten pulled away and turned her back on Neji. "I don't really care sometimes…but other times…I start thinking about it. I'm just Tenten. I don't have a family name to carry-to burden me by…but that also means I don't have a family name to depend on. And in the end, I'm just Tenten. Alone. And that's why all these male shinobis of the other villages think of me as a perfect 'breeder'. A wife that don't carry a blood limit to taint their own blood limit. A wife that is unattached and therefore no clan can avenge her if she is treated unfairly-no one to uphold her honor and back her up if they ever do find someone else better to replace her."
Tenten felt the briefest of caresses on her face and she quickly looked up to meet the pearl orbs of Neji. Her dark eyes clashing against his moonlit ones. He was frowning at her, as if unpleased with her. Did she fail him? Is he thinking of her as weak? Will he leave her finally to pursue his own path?
"Tenten." Again her name on his lips. How many times is he going to just say her name? If he has something to say, just say it damn it. Her eyes started furrowing as her thoughts clashed against each other. Then suddenly, the storm was quieted as again he said her name. "Tenten."
"Your name. Tenten. It's perfect." He smiled and lightly leaned in to touch their lips oh so briefly. "Tenten. You are Tenten." He pulled her in and embraced her. "You are Tenten and I am Neji."
"I know that!" she yelled. Tenten started pushing back against him when she felt his chest started to rumble. She looked up astonished as a brief chuckle escaped the normally stoic jounin.
"I am not a Hyuga when I am with you," confessed Neji. "I am just me and you are just you. You unlock the door to my cage and I am free to fly anywhere but I choose to fly with you. And every single time, I choose to go back into my cage just so you can unlock it for me."
He sighed and pressed his warm lips to her forehead, his hands stroking her hair and smoothing away the tangles and the skewed hair ornaments. "You protect my blind spot. You train with me every day even when you are feeling sick. You believe in me."
"And if," he fiercely added, drawing her away just to look deeply into her eyes, "ever you should feel that you have nothing to depend on-no family name-then think of me. I have depended on you so much…that I cease being a Hyuga and started just being your Neji."
"Tenten," Neji whispered and again drew her close and kissed her lightly on her lips. "You don't carry a family name to burden you but you help shoulder my burden of being a Hyuga. You don't have a family name to depend on but you can depend on your friends, and Lee, and most especially me. I will uphold your honor if anyone dares to tarnish it again. I will be there for you just like you have been there for me all these years."
"Neji, what are you saying…?"
"Tenten…I didn't want to do this because…because I didn't want to bring you into the Branch House of the Hyuga clan. You deserve so much better than that. But if you are going to say yes for the sake of…finding a name…then might as well say yes to me then." Neji dropped his hands to her back and pulled her tighter to him. He leaned in and inhaled her unique scent.
"I'll go back to my cage just so you can unlock it again for me. I am working with Hinata to change the Hyuga clan so that my wife will be proud of the name that she'll bear with me. I was going to ask you this much later…but if you are to say yes…"
"Neji…" Tenten pulled herself away and started at him in shock. The Hyuga genius in turn kneeled before her and put his head on the ground in supplication.
"Please bear the shame of being a Hyuga with me for a while. I am only a lowly Branch House member but I'll work harder so that the shame will turn to pride. I'll…"
"Neji, please," Tenten kneeled and brought his head up with her hands. She gazed lovingly into his white orbs before pulling him up closer so that they knelt facing each other. She smiled before closing the gap between their lips and giving him back the kisses he stole from her, plus some more. All the passion she felt for him that she had locked away in order to be a better kunoichi came rushing up ten fold and she poured it all into that one kiss, trying to tell him without words, without sight, how she felt about him. After a few minutes, she slowly broke away from him and grinned to see the hazy expression on his face. "I change my mind. I don't need to find a name. I am Your Tenten. If I need one, then I'll use yours-but it won't be a source of shame for me because it will be our name-our burden together."
Neji slowly smiled as Tenten once again leaned in and fused their lips together in a slow sensuous dance. Thank you Tenten…my name is no longer a burden…for it has lead you to me…