Disclaimer: Naruto © Masashi Kishimoto. I only own my brain and this plot. Unfortunately.
He was only going to buy a few boxes of bandages. That was it.
He wanted to buy a few good boxes of bandages that would come in handy in case the Godaime wanted him in on another mission. He would then grab the boxes, walk normally as any normal human being would, pay the cashier without scaring her witless and march back home as any normal shinobi would on their off days without listening to two, apparently, gossiping kunoichis named Yamanaka Ino and Haruno Sakura. It was as simple as reciting the alphabet. That was the routine he had to piously follow since bandages were overused necessities in a shinobi's life. Yes. That was it. That was simply it. He wasn't affected by the gossips at all. He wasn't affected when he heard that Inuzuka Kiba had kissed his teammate— his sparring partner; his best friend...
And it wasn't jealousy that made him want to wring the dog-face's neck and hang him six-feet up with the bandages he just bought.
Yet for some strange reason, he found himself panting heavily and glaring over his self-deforested area in the outskirts of Konoha. He had no sparring partner today; nor did he ask any of his teammates to train with him. So, in other words, this training session that he had with the ashen shrubberies and helpless piles of poor foliages was a surprise training break.
Truly, words when used in gossips were deadly weapons if it could make him deforest Konoha itself. And it even proved deadlier when gossips about his teammate being... taken advantage by dog-faced Kiba reached his ears.
Neji was angry for reasons he could not fathom— or rather, he refused to fathom. And as of now, the only thought that could comfort him and calm him down with a malevolent smirk was adding Kiba in his hit list and crushing him to tiny, miserable pieces.
And it was all because he kissed his teammate.
His face and aura darkened in a way that would make Tsunade-sama herself ring-out the alarm bells for impending doom.
And when he said his teammate, he wasn't referring to Lee at all.
His Byakugan activated in reflex; he gritted his teeth and curled his fists tightly as his mind's eye witnessed the gap between dog-face's lips and Tenten's disappear...
"I am not jealous!" he exploded his anger on a tree; kicking it to pieces until it was reduced to tiny, miserable bits— a perfect example of what would happen to Kiba if he was unfortunate enough to grace him with his much-wanted-to-crush presence— and then, going after another, and another and then another until one of the trees he wanted to murder actually talked...
"Whoa, whoa, Neji!" said the tree whose voice sounded very much like Tenten, "Neji, Neji! Calm down!"
He asked himself, since when did foliages acquire the capability to converse with human beings? More so, try to deliberately suppress his seething murderous anger towards a certain mutt-loving bozo, with a soothing voice?
"Hey! Hey! It's me!" said the tree; eventually catching his wrists and pushing it to his side, "It's Tenten!"
He stopped and glared, realizing that his emotions had driven him to the point of incoherence. After a few minutes though, when sense finally came back, he confirmed that the woman in front of his eyes wasn't a tree who had enough fashion sense to wear a navy blue Chinese-collared top and the usual black and baggy Capri pants. It was, in fact, his teammate: an apparently very confused-looking teammate blinking warily at him and at the surrounding forests— or what's left of its ashen state, at least.
"Okay..." her forehead creased, "What the hell happened here?"
It wasn't as if she knew exactly what was going on inside his brain; but really, after being teammates with the Hyuuga prodigy for so many years, you'd think you'd get used to his regular PMSing pains that were even worse than any real women's PMSes.
As she expected, he responded with his usual resentful grunt; eventually folding his arms stubbornly across his chest and looking elsewhere but her face. And if it were any addition, he was also frowning considerably (though it suspiciously looked like an adorable pout to Tenten, so to speak). "I was training..." he proclaimed; the frown visibly confirming Tenten's suspicions. It was a self-righteous pout, meaning, he's upset and he's not telling her what it was until she convinced him thoroughly and severely in a way or another for the next one hundred years.
"Um... Yes... it shows." Tenten sweat dropped. If that was his excuse, then that meant she had to start thinking of other excuses to explain why a sulky Jounin was mutilating half of Konoha's wildlife. "But next time you decide to deforest Konoha, I suggest you look for me first to reconsider doing a fruitful duel with someone who could pose as a challenge. And quit picking on those innocent trees, please."
Inwardly, she fainted in relief when he finally smiled. "I'll keep that in mind..." and then he suddenly frowned, "And I suppose, that is if you're not meeting up with someone..."
Tenten blinked, "What?" if she wasn't imagining things, she swore she detected a hint of jealousy in his voice. "What do you mean 'not meeting up with someone'?"
Neji remained quietly still, a scowl etched on his sulky face.
And then something clicked at the back of her mind. "... I guess you've heard from Ino and Sakura then." She said, slowly.
The scowl turned into one of his adorable pout that he had been prone to unconsciously making. "I just thought you don't want to be disturbed." He wasn't someone who could easily be read but, somehow, Tenten figured he was lying. From the descriptions that Ino and Sakura told her earlier, Neji had basically marched out of the supermarket and proceeded to turn his wrath towards the innocent trees and shrubberies. But she wasn't going to be so bold as to assume that it really meant something deeper. Neji was still Neji after all; and being the person that he truly was, he only treated her as his ever predictable and reliable buddy who happened to wear women's clothing and speak in a falsetto range.
Despite the irritating fact of her miserably laid-out life, Tenten chuckled amusedly. "Get a life, Neji." She earned a glare for that, "When did I ever abandon you or Lee?" she smiled and smacked him playfully on the shoulder. "Besides, I can always excuse myself to make accommodations for my teammates."
"Two people saw him kissing you..." he suddenly paused and frowned, noticing how her face had turned slightly red. "And for the same reason, I don't see why anyone would doubt that you have... intimate relationship with him."
"Intimate?" She rolled her eyes, "You've got to be kidding me."
He accusingly glared at her. "He did kiss you." And it wouldn't even surprise Tenten if he pointed an accusing finger at her if he continued a second more.
"Um... well... about that..." she regarded the pissed-off prodigy warily. Veins were protruding out of his head and it told tales of Kiba's ill-fate if she gave him the wrong explanation. "Okay... it's like this: Akamaru was clowning around with Kiba and then, when he suddenly hopped on Kiba's back... he was too big for Kiba to bear, you see... and then, he, sort of, bumped into me and his face landed on my cheek..." she bit her lower lip, "It was just an accident."
Tenten thought that by the time her eyes met Neji, he was going to explode like a nuclear bomb set to mutilate the daily living bulbs of light out of Kiba and Akamaru. Thankfully though, he only decided to take two deep breaths and then closed his eyes; seemingly calming himself down to ebbs of profundity so as not to strangle the living daylights out of Kiba or his loyal canine. Praise the heavens. "An accident..." He repeated before opening his eyes, "An accident that 'somehow' landed his face on your cheek...?"
"Well, yes, he—"
"You mean to say it was a deliberate accident to land a kiss on your cheek?" veins on the side of his eyes acted reflexively, marking Inuzuka's death if she gave the wrong answer.
"NO!" she proclaimed; half wailing desperately, "Let me spell it out for you Neji: It. Was. An. Innocent. Accident." She smiled, in an attempt at lightness. "Pretty much like the fact that Naruto stole Sasuke's first kiss."
An annoyed vein protruded predominantly on his head, "I thought it was only at the cheek?"
"NE—JI!" Tenten's eyes were snapping in irritation. The man was even harder on the skull than she presumed! "I was only stating an example."
"And Naruto accidentally kissed Sasuke on his lips." He stubbornly crossed his arms on his chest again. "Doesn't that mean I'm missing something?"
In all honesty, she wanted to hit his over-inflated head with a frying pan. Or maybe, she could ask Sakura to uproot a giant sycamore tree and pound some good sense in his head; but since this was Neji she was talking about— and this Neji was in PMSing mode— she needed to be matured in dealing with his pains and pull the strings of her pride for a while to soothe his wounded ego. He had misinterpreted everything, she guessed; and really, there was no point in continuing her quest for prided head-butting if she had somehow made someone like him jealous. Anyway, it was rare—
She blinked and eyed him warily as she caught on to her trail of thoughts. Jealousy was something that had occurred to her before but... not to the point of it being glaringly obvious for the world to see: Billboard sign and Hokage-monument-obvious to see. "Neji...?" she uttered, slowly; her lips drawing into a small, knowing smile, "Is there something you want to tell me?"
His frown deepened, "Maybe you should answer my question first."
She chuckled apologetically, "No, of course not. You're not missing on something or anything at all, Neji." she said, "But I do think I'm the one missing on a few things that had been going on in that overactive brain of yours." A sweet smile, "Do so enlighten me..." a sheepish grin suddenly lit her face, "... are you actually jealous?"
The branch boy nearly choked on his reply; obviously surprised by her outright-ness. "I absolutely am not."
"Uh-huh..." Her twitching lips and tone were enough to prove that she was unconvinced. "Okay then. So, now that everything's clear, I guess you would finally quit depriving the squirrels of their homes before you upset Lee?" she gave him a saccharine smile, "And you would go home now and put your mind at ease?"
"Hn..." was his crossed-arm dignified reply of affirmation.
"Okay... I'll see you around then." She took a step back and turned around; and then suddenly faced him again, "Last chance, Neji: are you sure you're not really going to tell me something?"
He looked at her for a while, as if mulling over her words before shaking his head vigorously. "Definite—" a big woofing sound suddenly reverberated behind him. And long before he realized what was coming, Akamaru's humongous body had trampled him over the ground.
The abnormally huge dog was wearing a fairly smug doggy-smile as he barked happily at Neji. And if the circumstances were different, the latter would've muttered a thousand curses by now; swearing to turn the dog into shish kebab and castrating the owner without reserved mercy for this humiliation. Fortunately for the dog-related duo and unfortunately for poor Neji, he was distracted enough by the presence beneath him and the fact that he was acutely aware that his lips were firmly set against Tenten's in an even more... intimate way.
If the circumstances were any different, anyone would undoubtedly think that he was kissing her.
They were left staring at each other for a good while in utter shock— lips still locked— while Akamaru's big pair of paws kept him pressed against Tenten's body; barely giving him the chance to stand up. It was actually a good excuse to tell any witness that the reason why he didn't immediately move his face away from Tenten was because the stupid, stupid mutt won't move a muscle and that he had no choice but to stay that way. Now, if only the mutt would move his gigantic paw closer to where his head was located, the excuse would be perfectly viable... which was terribly not the present case, mind you.
Seconds later, a seemingly smug-sounding Kiba arrived at the scene, "Oi! Akamaru!" he greeted, "Stop stepping on him, can't you see he can't move?"
The dog was actually barking in a dastardly sinister happy way before moving his big paws off the Hyuuga's back, finally giving him the chance to move away from Tenten. It didn't help their awkwardness though, especially when they realized how lobster-red their guilty faces were in front of actual witnesses.
"See, Neji? You should believe Tenten when she told you that Akamaru was really heavy..." he frowned as Neji glared back at him, "And for the life of it, the accident between me and Tenten wasn't deliberate so quit getting jealous." his face lightened, and then suddenly downed into a dangerous smirk, "And besides, I think I've done you the favor when I told Akamaru to give you a taste of how heavy he really was, ne?" he smiled cheekily at the two, "No need to thank me, pal."
Akamaru agreed by barking jovially. Neji chose to answer this with an indignant glare.
"Come on Akamaru... I think our work is done here, ne? And I don't want to be late for Kurenai-sensei's mission briefing." he said and then looked back at the two, "Oi, you two..." he grinned at them; earning for himself two pairs of glares, "Lighten up. You don't have to worry about me... Gossips really aren't my thing so be thankful I'm unlike Ino or Sakura."
When dog and dog-lover were clearly out of sight, it was Tenten who broke the tension that suddenly rocketed around them. She didn't expect her teammate to be so talkative after the, well, experience that they had a while ago. It was pretty embarrassing and deflating for her own suppressed pride; what more could it do to someone like Neji who's pride extended the expanse between heaven and hell and back again? "W- Well..." she uttered; nervously, scratching her head, "I told you Akamaru was pretty heavy."
Neji chose to remain silent as he got up.
"Uh... I guess..." she followed his lead, "I-I'll go now, Neji." She mustered a tremendous amount of strength before stepping forward and slapping him playfully at the back as normal buddies would, "See you tomorrow." She turned around and placed her hands behind her head.
"It was an accident." He uttered, finally; making Tenten think that he had finally recovered from his initial shock. He appeared to be looking more somber than usual but the unusual thing about this was the fact that his statement contained a certain edge that meant something else— something she couldn't comprehend. Apology, maybe?
"It's okay, Neji..." she smiled sweetly as she turned to face him once more, "I know that it's—"
She was suddenly cut off when his lips found hers; coaxing and probing for entry in her mouth. It took her a while to register the thought of Neji deliberately kissing her but then again, she guessed that what it all boils down to was Neji just confirmed her earlier suspicions: that she had been right when she assumed that he was jealous because he'd heard Kiba had kissed her. That he was jealous even though she told him and he figured out for himself that everything was an innocent accident. That he was really jealous because he didn't want any other guy to kiss her.
And he was jealous because he wanted to be the only guy who would kiss her like this: sweetly, gently and was capable of making her feel so nice on the insides, it might make her melt into a pathetic puddle. A small smile tugged on her lips as her arms came around his neck; answering his kisses with equal fervor, gentleness and passion that she knew would make him aware that she wasn't the one to protest nor stop him from kissing her senseless.
When they parted, Neji's grip around her waist tightened; a smirk conjuring up on his lips, "I believe you could tell the difference between accidents and deliberate accidents?" the smirk morphed into a boyish grin.
"Hyuuga Neji..." she rolled her eyes as she poked his forehead with a finger, "You don't think I know that by now?" she chose to answer by kissing him again.
So, by the end of that fateful day, rumor spread around Hidden Leaf Village that the Hyuuga Neji had, in fact, kissed his longtime teammate, Tenten. And it wasn't Kiba's fault, so to speak. Why, he was only walking around the village after all, talking nonchalantly to Akamaru in a not-so-hushed-tone that he saw Neji kissing Tenten in the clearing at that time so, he didn't really tell anyone but Akamaru. Really. It wasn't his fault that most of the Konoha population overheard him, right?
After all, accidents do happen.
Feedbacks are as welcome as drops of rain in times of drought.