Title: Meetings

Chapter: 1 – First times are never fun

Author: Rekino

Warnings: Perhaps, OOC-ness? But I honestly tried hard to make them in-character!

Pairings: Neji x Tenten

Disclaimer: Naruto is not mine…

Summary: Their first meeting wasn't like anyone had imagined. A story based on Tenten and her life through the Academy and the examinations to become Genin. Neji x Tenten

Tenten hummed a familiar tune to her ears. With trained ease she pushed herself up from each branch she landed on and glided through the trees feeling the air brush pass her flushed cheeks. It took only a moment for her to arrive at her destination. She frowned, suddenly realising that something was amiss. Stopping just metres away from her training ground, her chocolate orbs narrowed to get a clearer view amidst the foliage.

That was when she saw him.

Sweat beading down his forehead and dark charcoal hair framing a rather handsome face. The teenager's pale complexion was – to some extent – disturbing, compared to Tenten's own skin colour. His breathing was swift from what the Academy student was able to see. The way his lean body stood rigid yet his clenched fists trembled as he took deep breaths. It was evident he had been training. She also noticed the deep circle he stood in the centre of. Stray rocks and twigs littered the ground around him. Her eyes widened. Her curiosity peaked.

She decided to take her leave then. She wasn't that desperate to train anyway. Tenten was just about to make her escape, when the boy's eyes flickered opened and came to glare straight at her.

"Damn," she swore under her breath as she departed. He had spotted her. Those jaded eyes – the strangest shards – she had ever seen had immediately detected her presence. Who was he? Curiously, she wondered what the rows of bandages on his forehead were for.

She returned to the village, the memory of the boy with white eyes plaguing her.

"Tenten," her father gestured for here to come closer. He was – contrary to popular belief – neither a blacksmith nor a weapon supplier. He was an explosives expert. He specialised in making bombs for shinobi missions and the sort. Tenten, merely had an affinity for weapons, thus it was assumed her father was connected with the devices.

Yuuto was thirty-six and had a clean cut appearance, usually dressed in black – because, soot and ash were hard to wash out of white after the numerous times his daughter complained – he was a man with a playful nature. Yet behind his grins and short dark hair, lay a man who on those rare occasions, could become deathly serious. He wanted to make the most out of life ever since his wife's – Tenten's mother's – passing away.

Tenten shuffled closer, after storing a box with smoke bombs on a shelf. "Yes?"

"Pass me a few rounds of the fireworks I made last night," he said distractedly, dangerously balancing a box of sleeping shells. "They're on the counter beside the firecrackers," he said before Tenten even opened her mouth.

Rolling her eyes, Tenten shook her bun-decorated head and pivoted on a heel to obey the order. "You do know that it's dangerous to store everything together?"

"Yeah, and I want five rounds of those," he called out before Tenten asked, "But you know If I die, at least I'll go out with my little creations," he chuckled in amusement. He barely had time to dodge the incoming kunai his daughter threw at him in response. His daughter's skills were certainly improving.

"Stop talking like that!" She glowered, clutching the explosives in her hand loosely. "I hate it when you talk like that!"

Noticing how upset his daughter was becoming and being one who disliked female confrontations, Yuuto sighed and lugged another box on the counter. He walked towards her. Upon seeing her downcast eyes, he laid a hand on her head, gently ruffling her hair. "I'm sorry. I'm always so insensitive when it comes to your feelings."

Tenten remained silent, her front bangs coming to cover her face. "Just don't do it again," she whispered softly, turning to leave. Yuuto gave a defeated sigh, wondering why he had to be such a jerk.

That's when they appeared.

"Ah, welcome!" Yuuto greeted, grinning more out of pure optimism than in welcome after noticing the new arrivals. He exuded such cheerfulness that Tenten was sure it was bound to be contagious. The two strangers walked inside and the taller one of the two gave a nod back. The other looked sullen, his movements forced. "Hyuuga-san, how nice of you to come!"

"What is it you are looking to buy?" Tenten paused, wanting to dart back in her own room after her uncomfortable conversation with her father. But for some reason she decided to stay put, hidden behind the store's storage room.

The older man's deep voice replied, "I'm here for fireworks for my daughter's birthday."

Always the businessman, Yuuto sank straight in for the kill. "What type are you looking for in particular?"

"What do you think Neji?" The man addressed the person, presumably, beside him. Tenten had heard two shuffles of footsteps. A grunt was heard as an answer.

Neji, Tenten presumed, seemed sociable as he was responsive.

"Neji," the voice corrected sternly.

"Perhaps, Hanabi-sama will like something bright," a smooth voice relayed tonelessly. This, Tenten thought, was probably Neji.

"Hmm, I made a new supply yesterday. Would you like those?" Gleefully happy that he was able to rant about his new creation to someone other than his uncaring daughter, for she was much too busy to listen to trivialities such as those, Yuuto went on to explain about the wonders of his new fireworks.

Surprisingly, the Hyuuga person seemed capable of withstanding Yuuto and his rants. A feat that was both shocking and amazing.

Tenten then blinked, realising that she was clutching in her hand said fireworks that were being discussed. Knowing that she might as well give them to her father, for it was the right thing to do; she shifted from her hiding place. "Hey Dad…" she began, emerging from the shadows. She strolled to her father.

The young girl froze when she realised who the customers were. There was a tall man, dressed in a plain yukata. Who looked strong and gave off an aura of command, the type who was often respected; he was accompanied with another.

Standing straight, arms crossed over one another dressed in the same clothes as before, and just as handsome. He didn't look incredibly happy. His stoic character and blank expression sent shivers down Tenten's body.

It was the boy with the white eyes.

"Hah? Ah, Tenten. There they are." Her father plucked the explosives from Tenten's extended palm and blinked at her bewildered face.

Worry, an emotion that he had not since mastered ever since her birth, was slowly ebbing its way into his mind. Yuuto stared at his daughter with concern. "Hey, are you ok?"

Bemused, Tenten nodded slowly. Snapping out of her shock, she glared right back at the boy who had decided to give her a dirty. She wasn't aware of the reason for his hostility, but by damn, she wasn't going to take it. The brunette didn't care who he was. She was never one, to put it bluntly – who took crap – from anyone.

The older of the Hyuugas' accessed Tenten and gave her a look. Just that, a look. "Is this your daughter, Yuuto?"

"Yeah, let me introduce you to my daughter Tenten," turning to face his child then to the Hyuuga, he continued on with his introductions, "Tenten, this is Hyuuga-san of the Hyuuga household."

"And this," the intimidating man interjected, motioning for the boy to come forward, "is my nephew, Neji."

There was this awkward pause where both adults stared at the teenagers. This pregnant moment was similar to a face off between two shinobis. Tenten and Neji stared each other down, neither willing to let the other win in this battle of wills.

"Erm, Tenten?"

Tenten broke off from the stare and whirled her attention to her father who beared the brunt of the teenager's gaze. "Sorry dad," she murmured. "I think I'll be home late today."

"Tenten?" Too late. She had already escaped, giving Neji one last glare as a remembrance before running out of the shop. The men left in their confused state.

"Neji," his uncle started slowly, "What was that?" Neji merely grunted.

Tenten retreated to her haven. The training grounds she had practiced for most of her life. She wasn't the least bit happy to see it practically decimated. No doubt by that dark haired Adonis.

Ever since she was a child, ever since the death of her mother, Tenten had always come to this particular area for refuge; to be alone, away from everything. And now, that guy just came and messed up her reality. She punched a tree in her fury, causing splinters to make its way to her knuckles, the pain replacing her anger, only for a slight period, but it was enough to calm her.

She stood like that for awhile, breathing heavily and trying desperately to meditate.

Finally, she pulled out her hand from the dent in the trunk and spun around, holding held her kunais at a ready.

There in front of her stood Neji.

To be continued…

Lots of kudos to Scythe! –glomps- She helped a lot and is willing to kick my butt when a block hits (the same goes for her with me). I've done three chapters so far and am quite happy with it. Nyahahaha, hopefully I'll get the other chapters done soon enough. Next up is Kaeru-chan's fic, then updating the others. Hope you like this.