Disclaimer: Notice the dis in front of the claimer as in not claim as in not own!
Author's Notes: I've been writing too much happy perky stuff lately…actually, now that I think abt it, that's all I ever write…so…lets try for some drama and that tinge of angst today!
Warnings: Well…looks like im back in the PG 13 zone (:P), so normal warning applies. The occasional swear and inappropriate situation of course! Review on your way out!
I cannot love as I have loved,
And yet I know not why,
It is the one great woe of life,
To feel all feeling die.
She drove him crazy.
She drove him mad, she made him want to scream, she made him question everything, and yet, she was the only thing keeping him sane.
He knew he would forever be higher than her in both class and skill, but it never occurred to him she was higher than him in everything else.
For most of his life, or lack thereof, he had spent in contempt and hatred for everything that only seemed to happen to him, to him, and it just didn't seem fair. He had forgotten the feeling of feeling, and he liked it better that way. You can't get hurt if you were numb to it.
She drove him up the wall.
She opened that door which he had spent so much time keeping locked, that door he had thought was bolted shut, never to be open again.
It wasn't her fault though. It was his for letting her open it.
And then, all those feelings he bottled up came back. He began to feel again, that strange creature called happiness, that foreign being named love. He had tried, tried, damn had he tried to block it out, but she would walk into the same room he was standing in and his brain cells would shut down. She would just be there, the Sun in his rain, and she would offer that hand in his mind's eye to help him up when he wasn't down.
He hadn't considered them equals. But nobody cared what Hyuuga Neji considered anyway. They were too busy silently cheering on Tenten, the thorn in his side, the smile to ease his frown, the happiness he had long since let go of, the only one left to change him.
The only one left who still cared to.
Uneventful days passed and Neji realized his life was ticking away. But he didn't care much to do anything about it.
On one of those days, early in the morning when the early bird was tucked away in bed dreaming about that worm, Tenten had caught him sitting in the forest. It was a place he had thought nobody knew about, a place he had accidentally stumbled onto when walking about aimlessly.
He was sitting next to the river, anticipating sunrise like he always did, the marker to another pointless day in a pointless time.
She had scared the hell out of him when she put a hand on his shoulder.
After apologizing profusely, Tenten gave him one of those god-forsaken smiles he hated to love and joined him.
Why are you here so early? She had asked him.
He normally wouldn't say anything to anybody, but this irksome thing Tenten did which was tilt her head in this stupidly adorable way, always got him talking.I come here to be alone. It's quieter when it's early.
That had been the end of their conversation. Two sentences. But he didn't mind at all…he enjoyed her company more than he liked to admit to himself.
Thinking back, that had probably been the day he let her open that door to his heart.
Nothing happened after that day. It wasn't like he was expecting anything to happen, but it still felt strange to him that neither one of them did anything. Well, it turned out he didn't have to do anything, because a few years later, everything unraveled in a matter of hours.
"Damned shirt button…" Tenten muttered, clearly pissed off as she tried again and again to button the top button of her shirt. She was already 10 minutes late to training, and she knew how Neji could get when he had to wait.
But the top button just refused to button. Growling unhappily, Tenten just left it and ran out the door. It couldn't possibly have looked too bad…
When she was walking down the street however, there were about 50 more catcalls than her usual 10.
"Damn it!" She said as she attempted to button that stupid button but once again, failed miserably. Maybe her shirt was getting too small.
"I'm here!" She yelled as she burst into the clearing and the words on her lips died quietly as she saw this creepy homicidal aura around Neji's body.
Lee was away in a corner, looking afraid and slightly confused.
Tenten slowly made her way towards Lee and saw that the poor boy was shaking.
"Are you okay?" She asked quietly, "Is it because I'm late? Why is he so mad?"
Lee shrugged. "I actually got here early and he was here, but he was already like this. I don't know what's going on. I didn't even ask him to spar!"
Tenten said nothing, mostly because she didn't have anything to say. Neji wouldn't have any reason to be so mad then…if it wasn't her being late…and it wasn't Lee demanding a fight…what was it?
"Go home." She whispered to him, and put a finger up to stop any protests. "Something's wrong, and I know him well enough to not say anything stupid. Go home."
Lee, knowing more than he let on about Tenten and Neji's relationship, shrugged and left. He knew when they needed privacy…whether they knew it or not.
Neji was fuming. He wanted to kill things. He wanted to torture things and then kill them. No, he wanted to kill things and torture them.
"Neji?" He turned to the bright voice he had memorized long ago and resisted that urge to grab her and kiss her to death.
"Are you okay?"
He said nothing. He didn't trust himself enough to say a thing. What if he opened his mouth and all his feelings would come tumbling out and he would ruin that delicate thing they shared? What if he ruined that one thing he liked to call friendship because he hadn't had a friend in so long? So he just kept that glaring face on and stared at her.
Tenten wasn't even fazed. "Hyuuga Neji. Tell me what's wrong."
He grit his teeth. "You are in no position to demand things from me, Tenten."
She just smirked at him. "And you are in no position to be angry without reason. So tell me what's wrong, or I'm leaving too."
That was more of a threat to him than she realized.
"Everything." He said clearly and looked straight at her.
This unnerved her greatly. "Um…" She said trying not to blush while she was at it, "What do you mean by everything?"
"Everything." He repeated, and all of a sudden, it started to rain.
Neji almost laughed. How appropriate, talking about his life so of course, it has to rain.
"Everything's wrong!" He yelled at her over the rain, "Everything!"
Slowly but surely, just like their shirts getting wet, Tenten realized Neji was not having a good day at all. Sometimes she would see him, and he would almost sulk around for no reason. Sometimes he was just fine, and he even humored Lee with conversation.
Today was not one of those days. In fact, today seemed like the worst one yet.
She didn't ask him to elaborate on everything. She didn't ask him to explain himself either.
He was kind of expecting interrogation, or at least for her to run away, but she just stood there and looked angry!
The nerve of her to look mad at him! He was The Hyuuga Neji! Not only was he Neji, but he was a Hyuuga too, and since 13 years old, over 7 years ago, he had been a The! A The! The nerve of her to get mad at him, when she had no idea the kind of crap he had to deal with, the kind of pain he had to go through every single waking moment of his life, the nightmares that plagued him in the only time he could get away from reality, the lack of emotions he had been taught, everything!
"Don't look at me like that." He growled at her and all he saw was more anger.
Without even thinking about it, he grabbed her wrist and clenched it as hard as he was angry.
"Don't look at me like that." He repeated again this time louder but she paid no heed.
"Let go of me." She muttered to him, a swirl of emotions swimming in her chest, "Let me go, right now."
Neji didn't know what came over him. Common sense was out of the question. He just smirked at her and tightened his grip.
"Or you'll what? Attempt to throw a kunai a-"
He didn't even finish his sentence as Tenten slapped him hard in the face. The two of them stood in the rain unmoving, for quite a while. Logic dawned in his eyes again and Neji let her wrist go.
"Neji." She said blankly, "You need to get this out. Tell me what's wrong."
Neji brought a hand up to his cheek and looked at her. It didn't hurt physically as much as it did emotionally.
She was about to ask him again until she saw that broken look in his eyes. That look…she had seen it before. That time, long ago when she had found him in the woods all by himself and he had told her he went there to be alone. That look of loneliness she couldn't even pretend to know about, that broken look…she couldn't even explain it.
So she just watched. She watched as he took a step back, followed by another and another until he just stopped and turned his face to the sky. She wanted so badly right then to apologize and hug him and kiss him and tell him it was going to be okay but she knew better than to go and ruin a good thing. If…what they had was a good thing. Well…if they had anything at all.
Neji on the other hand, was pretty sure that he had screwed up everything. In the last hour, he had managed to insult Tenten's strength, intelligence, and independence. He had screwed up. There was nothing left for him.
This point in time was when Hyuuga Neji gave up. He gave up on life, on happiness, on love, on friendship, on himself.
He dropped to his knees and put his hands on the ground to prevent himself from eating mud.
There was nothing left for him.
Unwillingly, a tear rolled down his face. He had vowed never to cry again, whether he was by himself or in front of others, especially in front of others, but that didn't seem to work that well anymore. Another tear rolled down his face and mixed with the rain.
It was just so unfair.
Tenten was kind of aware that Hyuuga Neji was crying in front of her. But she had no time to acknowledge it, she knew someone who was giving up when she saw it. And she refused to let the love of her life give up. She was not going to allow it.
Slightly more confident, she made her way to his body only to hesitate when she heard a soft sob come from him.
The whole picture was so wrong! Neji wasn't supposed to cry! It was like they were in reverse roles!
Ignoring this fact, Tenten took a deep breath and knelt in front of him and stared at the top of his head. She wished she could see his face.
"Neji." She whispered hopefully in an encouraging manner, "You need to get up."
Some time later, she saw him shake his head and sighed.
Tone hardening exponentially, she said, "Neji. You need to stop doing this. You might not want to keep going, but I'm going to stay right here with you until you stop this ridiculous train of thought. I saw you fall and I saw you lying on the ground for all these years and I'm sorry that I haven't done anything about it but I am not leaving you because I'm going to be there to see you get back up. I'm going to be right here to see you stand up again because I know you can and because I care enough to help you do it."
By now, she was on the verge of tears herself.
"Neji, I'm not leaving here until you accept this."
Neji, who was now partly over his crying episode, felt something clench in his heartstrings as he looked up to see her determined face.
"I love you for loving me." He stated simply to her, and it caught Tenten completely off guard. She almost fell in the mud.
"W-What?" She stammered, unsure if she had heard wrong in the rain.
"You heard me." He said again, "I just told you that I love you. And now you say..."
Tenten felt like she was back in kindergarten. "Uh…I love you too?"
Neji did something between a snort and a laugh. "Thanks for clearing that up." He said sarcastically and then sat up and rested his weight on his hind legs. Now he was staring at her.
When she still did nothing except stare at him a few minutes later, Neji averted his gaze to something else.
"You know, this would be a good time to say something."
Tenten looked at him and almost, almost, panicked. Neji had just admitted his feelings (Neji had feelings?) to her and she was just staring at him!
"No! I mean, yea that's great! No, that's not right either! Er…" She trailed off and scooted a little closer to him.
Well, why not? Tenten put a hand on the side of his face to make him look at her and leaned over to kiss him gently on the lips.
It felt a lot better than she thought it would.
When she pulled away, he was staring at her, surprise evident in his eyes.
"Does this mean-" He began.
"Yeah." She said and gave him that god-forsaken smile he hated to love again. "I wasn't kidding when I said I loved you too."
Hm, that was all the invitation he needed. Neji grabbed her and kissed her again and again until she was getting lightheaded from lack of oxygen.
After a lot more of that, he finally broke away and managed a smile just for her. She smiled back at him, trying not to tackle him because it was a rarity for Neji to smile at all, and pulled him into a hug with his head resting on her chest.
Minutes later, they both realized the rain had stopped.
"Tenten," He murmured comfortably, "I don't believe in true love."
Tenten laughed softly. "Neji, I don't either." She ran her fingers through his soft hair and sighed. "I don't need to believe it. I live it."
In that moment, Neji realized that he hadn't watched Tenten while she opened the door to his heart. That's not what had happened at all.
He had opened it for her and welcomed her in.
"By the way," He said, finally somewhat at peace with his life, and again, lack thereof, "I can see your bra."
There was a moment of silence.
And then Tenten sighed in exasperation and pushed him off her.
Well, Hyuuga Neji, er, The Hyuuga Neji had gotten up again. No need for her to dwell here anymore.
She heard him chuckle as she walked away and sighed when he ran up and took her hand in his.
"If you want, I can get that top button fixed, and the shirt resized for you."
Tenten shrugged. "Won't the people in your mansion think it's weird that you're going to fix my shirt for no reason?"
Neji smiled at her again (and once again she had to resist tackling him). "They won't think it's weird. Why would fixing my fiancée's shirt be weird?"
Tenten's mouth dropped open. "Neji!" She exclaimed, "Is that your cheap way to propose to me? That's not romantic at all!"
"Well," He said back to her, "Then I'll just propose to you again in public where everyone else can see. Then it'll be romantic because Tenten, if you hadn't noticed, we're in the middle of a field, I'm half covered in mud, we're both soaking wet, and it can't get any more unromantic than this."
She remained silent. "I guess you-" But was silenced as Neji started to kiss her again. She didn't mind that he had interrupted her while she was talking.
All she cared about was the feeling of his strong arms wrapped around her waist, the strange softness of his lips against hers, the way he tilted her back at just the right angle, the way everything worked just perfectly.
Neji was feeling elated. Elation…er, yea. He finally had someone to hold, someone to care, someone to say, "I love you" to, someone to receive love from, someone to listen to his insane ramblings of how unfair life was!
But that's just the way it is.
Pleasure of love lasts but a moment, pain of love lasts a lifetime.
((( The End )))
That's it people! I hope it wasn't too corny…I'm only really good at happy feeling kind of stories…so please review and tell me what you think!