Disclaimer: I own nothing. NOTHING BUT THE WORLD!
and when she walks,
all the winds blow and the angels sing
but she doesn't notice me...
-Bowling for Soup
It all began when Neji saw Tenten and Kiba walking together. The young Hyuuga had been on his way to the Academy, to retrieve his cousin Hanabi from her classes and take her home for lunch. (Why on earth she couldn't simply bring a packed lunch to school, as he and Hinata had, was a question he would have liked to ask.) It was a boring, routine thing to do, so he amused himself by counting the number of birds in the air, the number of squabbling shopkeepers, and other various countables that he could conceive of.
Then he saw the two other chuunin – from a long distance, as his Byakugan was activated – and the day was suddenly not routine.
Kiba and Tenten were a long ways off, and to the side, so they could not have seen him. Even if they had been in direct line of sight, they were so involved in their conversation that Neji doubted they would have the attention to spare anyone else. Kiba was the more animated, his face alight with enthusiasm and gesticulating wildly as he walked. Tenten, though not so lively, was evidently enthralled by whatever Kiba was saying (their angle prevented Neji from reading their lips) and her expression was the same focused one Neji saw on her whenever someone brought up her favourite topics: Tsunade, dragons, fortune-telling, or weaponry. And the idea that Kiba knew enough about any of those topics to catch and hold Tenten's attention so thoroughly boggled Neji's mind.
Neji could see heads turning to watch the two striding past. Kiba was certainly attention-gathering, with his wild appearance and increasingly large frame – the Inuzuka family style encouraged strength and stamina. He stood six feet tall now, just as tall as Neji and broader across the shoulders. (Neji did not care about that, he was still the better fighter, it didn't matter how futching huge Kiba was.) There was also the matter of the dog trotting beside him, obviously one of the famed Inuzuka fighting hounds – Akamaru was now too large to ride on his master's head, and in fact he was big enough for Kiba to ride on him.
But Neji had the uncomfortable suspicion that it was not Kiba that most of the attention was centering on. Too many of the by-standers were male.
At five-seven Tenten was one of the tallest of the kunoichi, (for a little while when they were all in the middle of their growth spurts, Tenten had been the tallest member of their genin cell – something that discomfited Neji and Lee greatly) and her slimness made her appear even taller. Her curves were scant – her frame too slender to be really voluptuous – but good, and the fact that most of her height was in her legs made for a truly spectacular sight whenever she disdained the baggy cargo-waders she liked to wear. Neji had heard that Jiraiya had been trying to get her to pose as a model for his series – not that he kept tabs on those books – or on Tenten - or anything, of course. Her hair, tied into a single intricate knot on the back of her head now that she had reached maturity, shone in the bright noon sunlight, revealing a blaze of autumnal colors.
As she laughed at something Kiba had said, she flung her head back, exposing the smooth column of her throat, and Neji could almost hear the snap of eyes focusing on her.
Neji was…annoyed by this.
He was even more annoyed when he watched the two of them entering a restaurant, evidently having lunch together. The huge Akamaru obediently lay down in front of the place, gnawing on a bone Kiba had tossed him before they entered.
Lunch! Together! When there were doubtless many other more important things they could be doing. Like missions. Or training, in Tenten's case, and dying, in Kiba's.
Neji stalked off to the Academy.
AN: Hah! A Nejiten story, all new because all my works-in-progress were stored in my Vaio laptop, which after four years of faithful service has up and died. While I wait in hope for a new Toshiba M-100, I churned out this bit of comedy. I actually planned till the end, so there is hope I will actually finish this story. 'Blue Eyes' and 'Escape Velocity' are on hold until I can retrieve my chapters and plot outlines.