Written by Jia Zhang
He was like water, she thought gingerly as she rested her chin on her hand. Chocolate brown orbs gazed curiously at the young man in the center of the oval body of water. His movements were liquid in motion—and she watched him twist and spin amide that pool of cerulean, as if he was performing a lovely dance. She gazed at him in interest, watching his ebony black hair tremble as he moved, his alabaster skin, and his strong figure, nicely expose as he trained in the water. Yes, Neji was water through and through—calm, tranquil, unaffected, peaceful, beautiful, yet possessing a tremendous power. He was the river, and he was the tide; he was the rain, and he was the waterfall.
She found him fascinating to watch.
The sound of her name jolted her back into reality. A pair of oleander eyes stared at her curiously, one elegant brow arched.
"Oh, sorry, what?"
Neji suppressed the urge to roll his eyes; instead, he opted for a heavy sigh to convey his annoyance.
"I'm aware of that, since my butt is kind of cold. Probably because of the rock."
He sighed once more as he placed a wet hand against his forehead, the liquid cool and tingling against his alabaster skin.
"There's no point for me to be in the water and training if you're not going to attack me. The whole purpose of this exercise is to speed up my reaction time, not for you to be lazy and daydreaming."
"I'm not daydreaming."
"Then could you please just attack."
Tenten's rose lips formed an unhappy pout as she glared at him politely. "It's my day off, and you want me to attack you? Gee, and here I was thinking this was a date. You sure know how to give a girl a good time." She smirked as she crossed her arms, an almost triumphant smile on her face as she peered at him.
"This is not a date. This is a training session."
"I was wrong. You're not like water; you're like a rock."
Surprised that she articulated her thoughts out loud, Tenten immediately covered her mouth with a slim hand. Her brown gems widened as she realized the odd predicament she would be in if Neji found out she had spent much of their time training gawking at him. And Neji had always hated people gawking at him; though, it would seem weird that she was able to gawk at him for several quarters of an hour, especially since her introverted teammate could see through particular objects. Neji must have noticed her anxiety, for he narrowed his crystalline eyes and peered at her suspiciously.
"What did you say?"
"Nothing. I said absolutely nothing."
The white stones narrowed further, and Neji's brow furrowed even more so. He didn't seem angry with Tenten, of course, simply agitated, as he tended to be with both of his teammates.
"You said something."
"Nothing, I said absolutely nothing. I don't think your ears work as well as your eyes, Neji."
Neji was suddenly tempted to glare at her, but decided against it. Something about seeing Tenten lie through her teeth was amusing him—and apparently, Tenten was an abysmal liar. She had a habit of touching her lips when she fibbed. It made Neji want to laugh, for some reason, seeing this terribly childish and uncontrolled side of her.
"You said…I wasn't like water, but like a rock?"
Tenten paled. Oh shit, she thought to herself, he heard.
Crossing his arms tentatively, Neji gazed at her peculiarly, waiting for a response. Tenten was desperately trying to squirm her way out of this unhappy predicament she had gotten herself into (though it was not the first time, or would it be the last). What could do say, she thought to herself hastily, her mind attempting to concrete a plausible lie that could convince the very forcible Hyuuga Neji.
"You heard wrong," lied the brunette in a strict voice, her hands clutched together behind her back. "I didn't say that. I said I wanted some water, and my butt hurt because of the rock, since it's cold and everything." Unconsciously, she brought her hand up to her mouth and gently touched her bottom lip.
"I'm not lying!" she defended.
Her hand touched her bottom lip again.
Unable to suppress it, Neji allowed a little smirk to appear on his face. "Yes, you are lying, Tenten. You're doing that thing with your lip when you lie."
"No, I'm not."
"Look, your touching your lip right now!"
Tenten looked down and noticed that she was, indeed, touching her bottom lip. She immediately retracted her hand and hid it behind her.
That insufferable smirk still on his face, Neji gazed at Tenten, his pale skin glistening from the water droplets that rested lovingly on his bare chest, like the stars' magnificent seduction of the sky. Tenten was tempted to blush, but refused to allow herself to seem immature. No, if Neji knew she used their training session as an excuse to gawk at him would definitely decreased his opinion of her. He would think she was unprofessional, and Tenten hated people thinking less of her. But in the pit of her stomach, Tenten knew that Neji would and could never think less of her.
"So, why I am not like water?" Neji asked again.
Tenten sighed, and decided, despite all her mind's attempts to stop her, to tell him the truth. After all, her skills of deception were futile against the ever so forceful gaze of Neji.
"I was…saying that you weren't like water, but more like a rock because you can be…kind of strict and rigid, you know…" she squirmed depressingly, "making you kind of like a rock, all hard and stuff. But—" she rolled her eyes before continued, "—you are…a lot like water."
"Oh? And why were you thinking this?"
Oh god, he's pushy, thought the teen. I'm never going to live this down.
"Because…because! I was kind of…watching you practice in the water instead of helping you train, and I thought…you were a lot like water…because…because…you were calm, controlled, tranquil, peaceful (and pretty) like water, but you were also strong like water—like a waterfall."
Chocolate brown orbs looked to the ground in embarrassment as she anticipated Neji's all-too famous lectures about the importance of training and hard work. God, he would be a bloody prick of a teacher, she thought to herself as she waited, I should have just killed him with kunai when I had the chance.
The next few fragments of silence were simply a dreadful lull in time. What could he be thinking of saying, she thought to herself nervously; I'm not that unprofessional, and I hope he doesn't think I'm juvenile because of this. Damn! Why couldn't I have just thrown a damn kunai at him?
Because he looked damn good in the water, said the nasty little voice inside her head.
She looked up to see Neji attempting to repress a laugh, a hand covering his mouth.
"Are you laughing at me?"
Neji shook his head as he turned himself away from her. Tenten gazed at Neji's bare back disparagingly.
"Yes, you are laughing at me."
"No, I'm not. Honest. I was just thinking…it's ironic. I always thought you were like water."
Tenten widened her chocolate orbs in honest surprise at the raven-haired youth, who's back was still turned to her. "I'm like water?" she echoed cynically.
"Yes…a lot like water. Beautiful, graceful…full of spirit and zeal. Water's not just strong, Tenten—water can be splendidly wild. Water moves you, and wakes you. It's conjunctive to our being…water's a necessity. Water is this magnificent force that's poignant in any of its forms. I always thought that was a lot of who you were, Tenten."
He turns around for a brief moment to gaze at the expression of incredulity on her petite visage, her cheeks brightened to a delicate hue of cherry blossom. Suppressing a chuckle, Neji turned around and prepared himself. "Now, can we get going? We've got a couple more hours left of training left to do. I don't think you want Lee to get the better of us, do you?"
Shaking her head in diversion, Tenten gave a tiny little smile as she finally got out her legion of weapons.
"I guess a little bit of water is in both of us, Neji."
And then she threw a kunai at him.
Gawd! How cheesy was this? ((goes to shoot herself)) Jia doesn't usually do cheesy, but she was in the mood. And she's writing this for Miya-chan, who has more of a cheesy side than Jia. Jia enjoys angst. Angst makes her happy. She likes to relish in the suffering others. No, she is not a sadistic bastard. Not completely anyways. Besides, it's always good to try something new. Ara-senpai always tells me to deviate in my writing style, so I'm deviating…
I hope you all enjoyed this little fluffy ficlet, one of the few I've ever written, and hope it wasn't too out of character. Anyways, I wanted to make Neji seem a little human. He's a hard character to write for, but I don't think he's a rock. And I wanted to show Neji and Tenten's compatibility with one another, using the element of water. And I think it turned out rather well. Yeesh! Damn Miya-chan and her Neji/Tenten loving. I've already written way too many of this stuff for her.
Anyway,Water is the first part of Elementum, a short series of romances, with angst, fluff, humour and some delicious cheese. The next will be Fire (SasuSaku), then Wind (NaruHina), and concluding with Earth (ShikaIno).
Thanks for reading, and leave a review!