My one and only Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
This may become a 2 part or 3 part series.
To all those who like to read my work, hugs you, I'm sorry I haven't produced anything lately. I've been writing, but I just never really finished any of the stories I began. I have atleast five that I am working on, most of them half finished, so expect more in the near future.
At times when there is nothing more to say, nothing more to do, there is only the choice of either crying in frustration or laughing in confusion. When the world seems at its end and there is nothing more that you could physically do, people must adapt. Adapt to what you say? To the change of an unchangeable circumstance in which you have no control of.
Tenten laughed, her tears leaking from her narrow, scrunched eyes in the recent unbelievable news that she heard. Breaths coming in gasps of shallow spurts, the hallow sound coming from her throat sounded oddly surreal. Bringing her hands to cover the steady liquid flowing from her troubled eyes down to her cheeks, she quickly tried to wipe away the trace of the salty fluid before he noticed. But he noticed.
Neji noticed everything.
Turning her back towards him, she silently cursed herself for being a coward. Head lowered, her loose hair framing her face, Tenten shuddered as she repressed a violent sob. It wasn't fair. What good would there be to try to convince him?
And yet, she had to try.
"St-stay," she managed to choke out, her word made almost incomprehensible by shallow breathing. Trying to remain calm, Tenten found herself wanting to scream. Stay, stay in Konoha. Stay with your friends, stay with me. Silently willing him to hear her inward plea, she glanced at him through tear stained eyes.
His eyes were cold.
"Don't do it, Neji," she whispered softly, her ragged breathing straining to become normal. Thoughts of a life, possibly without him, seemed to collide and echo heavily within the confides of her mind. She needed him. Life without him would be anything other than 'ordinary' or the 'regular' she was accustomed to.
"What?" he asked faintly, his tone distant and wary, "Don't leave?"
At the sound of his voice snapping her harshly back to reality, she spun around, her cheeks apparently marked by a trail of tears. Hair disheveled with random strands sticking to her face, Tenten imagined she looked like a complete wreck--awful to say the least.
But she didn't care much about that at all.
She could only stare helplessly at the man she had grown to love as he said his goodbyes. Possibly forever.
Surprised as Neji had unceremoniously came to her house a quarter before midnight, she thought it was a dream. Hearing the firm rap at the door with an almost certain impatience that was Neji, Tenten had jolted awake, still hazy with sleep, leapt from her bed and made sure to grab a handful of throwing knives on her way to the door. Just in case.
After opening the door and giving him a quizzical look as he stood in a somewhat hesitant manner outside, she ushered him in. Neji was clothed in his dark mission clothes, his mid-back raven hair held tightly back. His weapons were set, and each pouch, Tenten scrutinized, looked tightly packed. He was leaving for a mission.
His masculine face was contorted in indecision, his movements restless. Peering at him through sleepy, hazy eyes and veiled lashes, Tenten quirked a slim eyebrow. "Neji, is something wrong?" House calls from Neji were rare…midnight visits, never.
His silence was her given answer as his pale gaze penetrated her dark eyes. Neji's stance shifted slightly. As the thin rays from the moon shown distantly through her window, Tenten's eyes widened slightly as she noticed what other weapons Neji carried; two sais, various daggers, and poisoned tip needles.
"Neji," Tenten murmured slowly as she looked pointedly at his poison needles, "where are you going?" Scrunching her nose slightly at the already known answer, she sighed. His phrase for tonight was most likely going to be his usual short and simple, "on another mission" line, Tenten thought shrewdly.
His pause was longer than usual as he caught and held her gaze, his words stopping her cold. Pale eyes fixated on her dark brown ones, Neji spoke quietly. "I won't be back for a while."
Tenten's gaze lowered. Although she had assumed by his clothing and the weapons he was carrying that he would be gone for an extended period, Tenten had faintly hoped it would just be 'another mission' for him.
Why couldn't she look at him? Why couldn't she touch him? Why couldn't she tell him?
"I-- oh, Neji," Tenten said softly. Running her fingers through her dark hair, she sighed. "But you will be okay, right?" Knowing there was truly no way to know whether he would actually be alright, she questioned his mission more so than the outcome. What did his mission entail him to do? Surely the Hyuuga elders would not…
Sacrifice him? No. Surely not. Tenten straightened as she eyed him firmly for a reply.
Neji started pacing. "Tenten," he said somewhat nervously after a moment as she waited for his answer, "I cannot answer that." His pale eyes locked with hers for but a moment before staring lifelessly ahead of him. Neji was hiding something.
Tenten, for one, looked slightly shocked. Neji pacing was a rare sight to see. Nervous, almost never. "Why not?" she asked, silently berating herself in sounding childish. But then again, childish she will be if to somehow claim answers from him.
Neji stopped his jagged pacing, his body taut. His lavender eyes once again meeting hers briefly. They were filled with uncertainty, his pale eyes roving Tenten's features in an almost fervent manner; her dark brown expressive eyes, high cheek bones, petite nose, thin pink lips, quivering chin.
It was like he was memorizing the details of her face.
"The Elders are sending me, Tenten. The Main House." A hitched breath and slight pause. "I cannot disobey their orders."
Hearing his firm, monotone voice, Tenten inhaled softly. Her eyes narrowing at his excuse. "I do not care about them, will you be alright?"
Neji's eyes lowered, his pupils vanishing as his eyes closed. Silence surrounded the two as he inwardly struggled for the correct words. "Of course I will be," he said at last, his low, steady voice seemingly verifying his statement.
It was his usual phrase. He didn't want her to worry.
Tenten offered him a smile in silent support, her faith in him undoubtedly strong. "Yes, of course you will," she said quietly, her brown eyes reflecting a hint of worry and sadness, "and you will return just as you are now."
Knowing she had said the words he had wanted, and hoped, to hear from her, he gave a small nod. "And you will be waiting?" he asked. Pale eyes fixated on hers in silence, waiting for an anticipated answer.
Tenten's lips quirked slightly. "Of course I will be," she answered, "as always."
Neji nodded once more. "I know."
'But for how long this time?' she wondered, her eyes shifting downwards. 'How long will you have to be gone?' Thoughts of resentment and anger slowly slithered through her thought process as she selfishly wished to hold on to him longer. Just a little longer.
Surprised as a soft touch beneath her chin gently jolted her out of her thoughts, pale orbs searchingly glancing into hers.
"Tenten, will you marry me?"
Shocked once more by the unforeseen events, Tenten felt almost hysterical. Since she had turned eighteen, the legal marriage age, Tenten had always thought, fantasized and even slightly anticipated this moment. Four years later, it actually happened. The stoic, unfeeling Hyuuga prodigy fell for, and proposed to, her. But it wasn't like she imagined it.
Feeling almost entirely speechless, she was at loss of what to do, how to react. Should she scream? Yell? Act excited? Jump into his arms and answer with a multiple of resolute 'yes's?
Standing stock still, Tenten felt a slight 'thumping' coming from her chest and rising to her ears. Her hands shook rapidly, her fingers locking within each other for control. A sudden rush of an emotion, something almost foreign, flooded her system. Realization slowly settled in on what exactly the feeling was and what would soon follow. She was in some sort of panic, a hysteria. What would soon follow, she was sure, would be tears.
Neji hated tears.
To Neji, tears had always shown a sort of weakness; emotions were 'a liability'. Caught between the automatic reaction to a situation as this and the knowledge of doing something that the man she loved despised, Tenten found an alternative.
If she could not cry, she did what she could do. She laughed.
She could only now wish that Neji would not think of her as cruel or crazy.
Tenten's tears and bouts of laughter had shortly subsided as she had reached the point where it was useless to cry. Crying itself never helped, but it definitely eased the desperation and frustration she felt.
And yet, perhaps she would not play the role of a helpless girl, friend or lover this time.
"No," Tenten said softly in reply to his stoic, distant question, "leave…but don't die." Though her words may have seemed to portray the epitome of peace and calm, the tightening of her fingers digging into her palm showed everything but. She, in fact, did not want him to leave, least of all die.
"And why not?" Neji asked, almost cynically. "The Main House does not care, I do not even care, Tenten."
Tenten shook her head rapidly, the unbound locks whipping her face. "You are such an idiot sometimes, Neji."
Neji did not answer.
Choosing not to speculate on her last statement, the two pale figurines were paused in time of a heated battle of will, longing and raw emotion. As silence surrounded them, the moonlit rays streamed through her windows casting an eerie glow on the two.
The silence was shattered by the ringing of a monotonous chime. The clock struck midnight.
"I need to go," he said quietly.
Tenten nodded, her nails digging into the palm of her hand. "I know."
"I won't die," he said softly.
She looked away. "Okay."
Neji hesitated. "I care."
Tenten nodded, staring at her carpet through glassy eyes. "Alright."
"I love you."
She paused. Then softly, "I love you too, Neji Hyuuga."
Waiting for his presence to leave so she could finally allow the pent-up tears to flow, brown eyes widened as two gloved fingers were placed directly beneath her chin. Lowering his pale gaze to hers, Neji took in the wet, puffy eyes, quivering mouth, tearstained cheeks, sticky strands of moist hair--and kissed her.
One gloved hand wound through her dark tresses, tilting her head to meet him as the other pulled her towards him by her waist. A gentle kiss filled with longing, a hardened kiss filled with regrets. She hoped it wouldn't stop.
Not willing to be outdone by the Hyuuga prodigy, the weapons mistress wove her arms around his neck, dug through his midnight waist-length hair and pressed herself fully into him. I'll make you want to stay.
Inwardly willing for them to somehow meld and mesh together as one being, one spirit, one emotion, Tenten breathed deeply as Neji gently pushed her away. His hands steadily held her waist an arms length as he struggled to reclaim his composure. She noted smugly that his breathing was still highly irregular.
Their eyes met as he released her slowly. The last chime rang.
"Wait for me."
And with one final lingeringglance, he was gone.
Do not fret, there shall be more.
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Either way, thanks for even reading!