A/N: Both are sixteen years of age. Neji is more oopen to Tenten now and Tenten still likes him.


Pained Together

Tenten slipped slowly out of bed. Her facial expressions were grim and inside, sadness was overtaking her heart.

It's only three in the morning, she thought while sighing to herself.

But it was impossible to sleep with her mind, away in thoughts and time made it worse as seconds went by like hours. Today was the day when the accident happened eleven years ago. Looking at the mirror, she saw an average girl but with darkness surrounding her. She tied her hair in its usual, two buns before her mind, drifted off again.

There is nothing to do but train, she thought after coming back to reality.

Quietly she took herself out of her small apartment, where she had lived for the past couple of years, alone with no one but herself. She didn't have a set destination so she allowed her feet to carry her. Soon reaching the edge of the forest, where Neji and her would train.

Winds were howling and blowing ferociously causing her body to shiver at the sudden coldness. But she told herself to forget about her body and train instead. Her fingers were numb making movement stiff and open.

Practicing her taijutsu first, making sure her body was warmed up before starting. Darkness had already consumed her surroundings and it was even harder to see as darkness grew stronger around her.

Her mind wasn't focused and thoughts on that day were still in there. She sent rains of weapons at random places but no matter how many times she tried, they always missed their mark even if it was by a few millimeters. As each kunai, senbon or any weapon left her. She hoped that they take away the thoughts of the accident. But it failed, because more and more thoughts decided to come and fill in some gaps.

Taking out two scrolls, she performed one of her strongest moves. Over the years, ever since her defeat in the first Chuunin Exam (Temari), she trained and perfected this move till it could go no more. Now, after the years of training, they paid off and in return gave her a move that even Neji had trouble with while using his 'kaiten'.

The more I train, the more I think about it.

It seemed that nothing worked, so slowly she took herself to a nearby tree allowing them takeover

Flashback

Rain pelted down hardly in the outskirts of Konoha. Two adults, a mother and a father, were making their way out of the Village.

In the hands of one, was a scroll which was opened a day ago. Though it was only known by the two adults, it seemed confusing to take the child. But the scroll insisted or they would bring the downfall of Konoha.

To...,

Bring your wife and yourself to a hut just a short distance from Konoha. If you want to know why, then I suggest you remember from your previous mission. I'm sure you won't forget what we talked about.

If you inform anyone else of this then I assure you that the girl will not see the daylights of the next day.

I'll be waiting.

From...,

Both mother and father had serious expressions, planted on their faces, unable to say what was so bad but they just knew something was wrong. Their journey extended onwards for another hour before stopping at a dilapidated hut. Emerging from the shadows came five figures, all heavily cloaked from head to toe.

"Give her back!" Tenten's father yelled to them.

One of them laughed, "Now, now, no need to be so angry."

"Why did you take her?" Tenten's mother asked also hinting anger in her voice.

"We needed to get you so we took her; we know how important she is to you. Even if she is so weak, didn't put up much of a fight."

"Tenten's father had anger building up inside but being a skilled ninja, he refused to show too much, "She is only five years old, what did you expect from her?"

Once again, this set the five on a verge of laughs before one replied, "Actually we just wanted to have some fun. But she is useless to us now."

"What do you want from us?" Tenten's mother asked them, her voice fully with confidence.

"That is something we can't say, this is our job and that's what we are doing. Our job is...," one started but didn't finish what he had to say. He sent a whistle and within seconds, both of Tenten's parents were surrounded by about a hundred ninjas. Their chakra levels were already low, due to the way they had rushed just to get here. But the feel of the opponents were strong and their thoughts became negative.

The five stood on the top of the hut looking down at the scene.

"Bring the girl; I'm sure she wants to see the last of her parents."

After a few minutes one returned with Tenten, her eyes widened in shock and she wanted more than anything to run to her parents, but the five prevented her doing so.

"MAMA! PAPA!" she yelled to them.

But her cries were ignored while seeing her parents trying their hardest to fight off their opponent.

Tenten's mother suffered under some wounds but she still continued. Her husband suffered less but was hurt none less.

Tenten's eyes filled with tears when there was nothing she could do to help.

A few more minutes passed and from the hundred, they only managed to kill five. Their opponent seemed perfectly fine, yet in the middle stood two, puffing from the lack of oxygen.

The opponent charged at once aiming any weapon at the Tenten's parents. But they had run out of chakra and could fight on, no more. They both closed their eyes, knowing the pain they were going to receive. It was within seconds when the weapons stabbed into them and through their bodies. Warm, crimson, liquid flowed rapidly through their wounds.

"NO! MAMA! PAPA!" Tenten yelled out as the scene in front of her was sickening.

Her parents died just after hearing the words "…is to kill the two of you."

One of the five raised a sword and drew it down on her right shoulder creating a cross but it hurt.

"We have no use for you anymore."

Then he sent a punch at her stomach sending her off the roof of the hut. Luckily it wasn't too far but she landed breaking her shoulder and elbow in her left arm. Her back hurt and legs had a couple of bruises.

"Get away from my sight! I don't ever want to see you again! Go, unless you want to die!"

She dragged herself up and ran trying her hardest because of her injuries. Once she disappeared from their view one of them asked another, "why didn't we kill her?'

"She will die anyway."

She continued running until she was sure she had gotten away. Taking a look at her surroundings she was lost. But she didn't know where to go and the pain of her injures had become more than she could handle. Her legs collapsed from exhaustion and soon she fainted in the middle of the forest.

The net time she opened her eyes, she saw many faces staring down at her. She tried to move but one of them pushed her down. Taking a look at her surroundings, she found she wasn't in the forest but on a bed and in a room.

"MAMA! PAPA!" she cried.

The people around her just looked at her with sadden expressions. One of them performed a jutsu and sent her back to sleep.

End of Flashback


Neji woke up as usual and tied his hair in a low ponytail; grabbed a light breakfast and took himself to the training grounds. He was sure that he would get there before Tenten, since she always arrived late. But once entering the grounds, the scene he saw shocked him even though he didn't show it. Back against a tree, was the huddled form of his sparring partner and the sight of her made him conclude that something was definitely wrong.

Planted into the grounds, were weapons of all sorts. She's been training, he thought.

He turned his head to face her when he heard a sniff and his eyes showed him, tears running slowly down her face.

Why is she crying? Wait! Why am I even caring? She is just hurt and I should let her be. But I have a feeling that I have to do something, he thought.

Over these years, he felt as if he was becoming closer to his female companion. But he would never allow them to surface through his layer of ice. Many thought that they were close friends, but that was where they were wrong. Deep inside, he wanted to be with her forever and to help her though all her problems. In fact, they shared a special bond which no one was able to break, not now, not ever.

He had an urge to comfort her and let her tell him her troubles. He had never seen Tenten cry before, it was just not right. Slowly, he moved forward and wrapped his strong arms around her body, being a good friend to her. But secretly he wanted her to be more than just a friend. His nerves told him straight away, that her body felt colder than ever, just like a block of ice.

When Tenten felt the pair of arms embrace, her mind snapped away from the thoughts. She looked up to find herself staring into white eyes. The eyes that belonged to Neji and through her own, she could see hints of concern in his.

"Ne…ji!" she stammered. Oh no, now Neji will defiantly think I'm weak. Make up an excuse and fast, she thought to herself. "Um..I just...got something in my eye."

Geeze, what a lame excuse but its better than nothing, she thought while slapping herself mentally.

There were a few moments of silence but it was soon broken by Neji, "You're lying."

Tenten lifted her hands up, to wipe away her tears but Neji beat her to it, gently using a finger he took away each drop of her sorrow. While doing so he too was thinking, she has a beautiful face. I tried to deny before that I could be in love with her, but now fate has allowed me a dream that will hopefully one day, set me free from my cage.

Forcing herself to make a smile, she replied, "What do you mean?"

"Stop doing that, I can tell you're lying. Tenten, what's wrong? Maybe if you tell me, I could help in someway."

She just shook her head, "No, this is something that you don't need to worry about. This is something about me and telling you will just make it even more difficult. Besides, why would you need to worry about me?"

Neji was lost of words for a moment but his voice came back within seconds, "I'm your friend and I would like to know what is wrong."

The tone of his voice made it sound more like a command than a normal reply.

"I…I…don't think it is good for two to suffer….when only one has to," she stammered, trying to come up with the right answer.

"For one to suffer alone is worst than making two suffer. Because, two can comfort each other and bring themselves back to happiness. Please, what made you cry? It pains me to see you like this," Neji announced back to her.

Sighing, she willingly gave in and she told her best friend what the truth of her sorrow. After a few minutes of informing Neji, the air around them became frozen, none, knowing what to say or to do.

How come I seem to feel so much better? It is as if all the thoughts about mother and father have gone, leaving me in peace. Maybe telling someone is better, she thought.

Tenten was the first to break the silence, "Why would you be pained?"

Neji didn't answer at first but slowly words cam out of his mouth, "Because it hurts to see the ones you love in pain."

"Love?" she asked him, once again curious but a small tint of red creep its way to her face.

Silence filled the air again, but Neji too gave in and said what he would have to say anyway, "I...I don't like to see you hurt because I love you more than anything else in the world."

Tenten was lost for words; she wouldn't expect that coming from Neji. In fact, she would've never imagined him telling her this. Inside, she was jumping with joy, the person she loved over the years had just confessed to her. But on the outside, she was totally different, he facial expressions still showed confusion and shock.

Neji smirked at the sight before him, he lifted her chin to his, then giving he a small but very passionate kiss. Thought in real life, it lasted for a few seconds, the two felt as if it had been hours. When they finally parted, Neji flashed Tenten another smirk who in return tried speaking but stuttering along the way, "Ne...ji...you...just-"

Her voice was cut off, when Neji pulled her face to his, and this time giving her a stronger kiss. Then breaking apart he whispered into her ear, "It is better to be pained together then be hurt, alone."

This time, Tenten just smiled and for the first time on that day ever since the incident, she found someone to be with her and protect her.

"It truly is better to be pained together than be alone. I love you too, Neji," she whispered while she laid her head on Neji's shoulder, trying to get some rest even thought it was morning. Luckily for her, Neji didn't mind at all because today, he too felt happier than he could ever be.

The two found help through each other and that is the true meaning of being a best friend.

The End


A/N: Hope you liked it! Thanks for reading! Please review and leave any comments.