Ribbons and Pearls
Sunset had came and went by the time the two Shinobi had collapsed in different corners on the hard ground. Panting slightly, Tenten looked over to her sweaty, yet still incredibly sexy teammate. His hair was covered his eyes, let loose by a stray suriken courtesy of Tenten. She had to admit, she could stare at him all day like this.
When Neji shook off his image of perfection, even for just a minute to catch his breath, Tenten smiled a bit inside. She would bet all the money in her pocket that she was the only one who ever got to see this side of him. He probably didn't even notice this himself, which made her even happier. It was nice to know they had become so comfortable with each other that they could just spend a few silent moments like this. After regaining his composure, Neji noticed his friend starring at him.
His face snapped back into her focus. "Sorry, I must be tired. I can't believe we trained so long today. It usually doesn't take so long to get my ass kicked."
"Well I must be having an off day," Neji said with a smirk.
"Funny, Hyuuga. I demand a rematch tomorrow. Same place, same time." She slowly got up and walked towards him as Neji sat up and leaned against a tree. She held out her hand and he took it, shaking it gently.
"You're on," he said as she let go of his hand and slid down next to him. "But just remember, I wont go easy on you two days in a row."
"Well good. In that case, I wont feel bad about not holding back tomorrow myself," she replied with a little wink. The two of them sat in silence for a few minutes, too tired to even start a conversation. Out of the blue, Tenten suddenly asked "Neji, what color do you prefer? Red or pink?"
"Um... I guess red," answered Neji, protecting his masculinity. "Why do you ask?"
"Because... You see, there is this dinner... thing I have to go to tomorrow night with my parents. Its formal and I'm not one to dress up, so I wasn't sure which color ribbons would look better in my hair."
"I see. What's the occasion?" he calmly asked with no hint of curiosity whatsoever.
"It's nothing. I'm just going to meet this family, which I don't even want to do. My parents set it all up." Tenten said, leaving out a lot of details. Apparently that was all Neji cared to know because he didn't ask any more about it. He sat there silently in his own world until Tenten disturbed his thoughts with yet another strange question. "Do you think red would bring out pink pearls, or would a black dress look better on me?"
"Tenten, why are you asking me these things?"
"I just want to know your opinion. Sometimes you have good ones that are very helpful. I was hoping this would be one of those times," she said a little defensively. Its not like she's been thinking of asking him all day because she was dying to hear his opinion! No, that wasn't it at all.
"I don't know, wear whichever looks better on you."
'What, that's all?' she thought. 'Thanks, Neji. You're really helpful.'
"Um, ok. I guess... But I don't know which looks better on me! I may be a girl, but I have very little fashion sense, you know! What do I do?"
Neji grunted. She was starting to get loud right in his ear. "Alright! Wear the black, then. With red ribbons and... what was it? Pink pearls?" She nodded. "There you go. All set."
She smiled and the two sat in silence for a few moments once again. But once again, Tenten turned to him and asked, "What about shoes?"
"Oh, for the love of... Tenten, what does it matter anyway? Who are you out to impress?"
"No one special. It's just that this family... I may be spending lots of time with them in the near future so I want to make a good impression. You know, a proper girl all dressed up--"
"You want to lie to them?"
"What does that mean! I am a girl, you know. I am naturally equipped with the talent to dazzle with eloquence and... posture, clothes and flirting and-- Hey! what's so freaking funny?"
"I think you should cross eloquence off your list. You're babbling." She sighed. He wouldn't ask so she would just offer the information.
"Neji, do you know why I have to meet this family tonight?"
"Because you're arranged to be married to him when you turn 18 next year," he replied flatly. She sadly nodded. "I knew that. Byakugan, remember? ...So that would be good. If you like him, I mean. Do you think you will still continue your life as a Kunoichi after you're married?"
"Neji! This isn't a good thing, you know. If I like him or not, I wont love him! This wont be my choice and unless I can find someone on my own, I have to marry this guy!" She leaned against the tree and closed her eyes, making sure no liquid would leak from them.
"How do you know you wont fall in love with him?" he asked. Tenten cracked open an eye to look at him. She quickly turned away so avoid his eyes. She didn't want him to see her face, one that he could read like a book.
"Because I love someone else. But you know that already, don't you?"
"Yes," he said, still without emotion. Tenten wonders if he's ever cried in his life. She figures he must have when he was younger. He probably cried when his father died. That would only be natural.
"Well then, do you know who it is?"
"And what? Naruto is a very nice catch and I hope you two have a very happy life together," he said and smirked when he saw the shocked face she wore.
"That's not funny! In fact, that's terrifying. But seriously though. Do you know who?"
"Oh." Tenten was playing with a blade of grass when she noticed the sun had long since gone down and the stars were lightly making their training grounds visible. She started to get up. "Well I better get home and put together that outfit for tomorrow. With any luck--" She stopped when he reached out and grabbed her arm, pulling her back down beside him.
"Tenten, you forgot to tell me. Who do you love?"
She gaped at him. She couldn't believe he just asked her that. Its one to play a guessing game, but she didn't think she would ever have the courage to just say "I love you, Hyuuga Neji, with all that is in me" straight to his face.
"Well?" He asked.
"Neji, don't act like you don't know."
He looked her straight in the eye and she saw herself, glowing in the moonlight. Her hair was a mess, she probably didn't smell too great and a trickle of blood was falling from her right arm from when she scraped it on a tree to avoid attacks from her sparring partner. To top it all off, her reflection started to blur and her tears finally escaped. She sighed and decided she had nothing to loose.
"Hyuuga Neji, I love you like a brother. A teammate. A friend. Guess how many other ways I love you? Too many to count on one hand. You know I love you and yet you make me say it anyway. Are you trying to make me hurt more knowing its just sitting out there for the taking and you could never--"
"Tenten," he interrupted. She wiped at her moist face and looked at him once again. "Its late. We should get going."
It was official. Her heart shattered like glass and her blood spilled from the cracks. She watched as he got up with his back facing her. She sat there with her mouth hanging open, trying to take it in. When she didn't move, he turned to her. "Well? Am I walking you home or not?" He held his hand out to her.
'Wait, what? Is he mentally unstable? You don't shoot a girl down and then offer to walk them home!' Tenten thought.
When she made no move to take his hand, he leaned down and slid an arm around her waist to help her up.
"What are you trying to do to me? Did you hear anything I just said?"
"I did. What about it all?" He asked with a smirk.
'What is he playing at?' She thought.
"Come on, let's get to your house and you can show me your dresses and shoes and everything. We'll set up a nice outfit for your date tomorrow. You'll want to look good because tomorrow may just be a day to change your life."
"What do you mean?"
"I mean tomorrow I am taking you out on a date, Tenten. I may want to compliment you on your appearance so we have to get it right. I may want to walk down the street with you on my arm and smile to myself because I'm so damn proud to have you beside me. I may bring you under a cherry blossom tree and the two of us may have a very romantic little picnic. And I may drop down on one knee and ask a very important question." Tenten stopped and Neji did as well, seeing as he had no choice with his arm still around her waist.
"And why would you do that, Neji?"
He smiled and did something Tenten would ever suspect Neji to do; He held her close and whispered in her ear.
"Because I may be in love with you, too." He kissed her cheek right beside her ear and she pulled back a little to look at him. She smiled. Of course she smiled.
"In that case, I'll wear my matching pearl earrings as well."
That's it. A sappy little one-shot that was written on impulse. Please review and tell me what you liked and what I need to improve. You rock, thanks for reading!