Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto
Well here it is and sorry for the...extremely long delay. I haven't been feeling very motivated to write anything for the past couple of months with school and all, but luckily I had finished this story before I went on fanfic leave. Kind of short, but it's a closure. Well, Enjoy!
He was dressed in black as far as she could see, the traditional robes adorned for the occasion.
Tenten walked solemnly along the path, alone, the Elders' eyes only slightly acknowledging her with a stiff glance as she passed. Heads bowed down in a seemingly grieving manner, they wore their robes in a distinct manner that outwardly reeked importance. The Heads.
The ones whom Neji despised.
Much to her displeasure, it seemed that they were required to come. Brown eyes flashed angrily as lips tightened. She was angry. Angry at them for sending her fiancé on a mission, angry at Neji for agreeing, angry at the idiotic heads that don't give a crap for those not of the Main and herself for being so bitter.
After Neji had returned, only two people from his clan had bothered to visit him in the hospital. One, his cousin Hinata, and the second, a servant to record all that entailed during Neji's mission. She was absolutely livid at the time.
It was two weeks…two long weeks.
Two weeks of hardly an hour's sleep at night, two weeks of laying damp cloths against his forehead, of changing his sheets, attending his wounds, and two weeks of holding him when he awoke feverish from a nightmare whispering him to sleep. Two weeks of lacing her fingers between his, she would sit beside him and inform him of all the things he missed: Ino's and Shikamaru's first child, Shikano, who had her mother's eyes and the tall-tell signs of being an avid cloud watcher like her father. Naruto's and Hinata's engagement, which, to Tenten's slight disappointment, he had already heard of from the soon-to-be bride herself when she had visited. Lee finally finding a spunky, eccentric girl who loved green as much as he did (although, thankfully, she did not wear green spandex herself) and the debatable rumors of Sasuke and Sakura being seen on a date.
And all the while, he often complained in his own Neji I'm-a-man way that he did not need her to visit him all the time. She would just smile and re-wrap his wounds once more knowing full well his intended meaning. She knew he wanted her to stay. He just wanted to make sure.
Tenten inhaled slowly as she continued walking, the pathway seemingly endless. Brown eyes roved the beautiful assortment of flowers appreciatively. They must have bought out the Yamanaka Flower Shop for at least a week. She smiled. At least they held enough respect for Neji to buy such lavish flowers. Fingering the nicely arranged mixture of red and white roses clasped between both hands lightly in thought, her breathing hitched slightly. Only the best for a Hyuuga.
Inhale. Exhale. Inhale.
Because Neji was forced to stay inside to recuperate, since many shinobies in their generation were known for leaving empty beds for anxious nurses to find, she brought bouquets for him often, flower after flower filling his room with the relaxing odor of nature. Replacing the old, drying ones with a new bunch that she, herself would pick that morning, she had often decorated the borders of his bed and shelves stating teasingly that the bare room was too gloomy for a person already as stoic and aloof like him. There was only a light protest from the Byakugan user from all the feminine touches she would add to his temporary room.
Tenten eyed the colorful arrangement of flowers neatly placed beside each row and in the front once more, yet this time in disdain. To the Hyuuga Clan, appearance was everything.
Neji was considerably weakened by his mission due to extreme blood loss and poison. His usual, elegant stride had held a slight limp and his frame was wracked with exhaustion…even after a few weeks after his return. Worried that his wounds were causing a sort of side-effect to his health, she had often checked and rechecked his bandages throughout the day much to his chagrin. The first time she had decided to check, the Hyuuga prodigy was asleep, the reassurances of her staying bringing him momentary comfort. Brown eyes roving his form, her eyes widened slightly at the sight of the visibly deep scars along his arms. Those would be engraved in him forever. Fingers shaking slightly, she had then traced each scar gently, tenderly, lovingly.
She later had to explain, with extremely flushed pink cheeks, why he awoke to light touches on his skin as he gazed at her, his sleepy expression combined with amusement. She should have known he was such a light sleeper…even when he was drowsy with meds.
Tenten's lithe hands wrapped around the stems tighter as she came to a stop at the end of the dark carpet. So this was it.
Tiny liquid drops formed in the corners of Tenten's eyes as she strained to listen to the person speaking out of forced respect. Fidgeting slightly as he continued to speak to her, Tenten was unable to concentrate on the words being spoken; thoughts and memories that had seemed so distant continually plagued her mind. Head bowed, lips taut, and brown eyes filled with barely contained tears, Tenten's hands were clasped firmly in front of her. Scarcely nodding her head in answer to a question, for fear of her voice not being able to produce an answer, she continued to keep her head bowed.
Although her actions may have seemed rude to the person before her, and to all those around her, she hoped, and assumed, they knew why. Inwardly willing for the stubborn pools of fluid to vanish before anyone could see, she knew it was inevitable. She was going to cry.
Brown eyes made glassy by her subtle tears, Tenten almost dared not to look at anything or anyone else but her tightly encased hands. Noticing the person beside her shift in a restless manner, nervous fingers folded tightly between each other around the bouquet of chosen flowers. It was almost time…but could she do it? Could she look at the man that she loved without shedding a single tear?
Hearing the concluding words said at these particular occasions, Tenten slowly turned towards Neji. She paused as brown eyes roved his still form. His skin was pale and his face held a serene, yet expressionless, appearance. The usual firm angles had softened to the degree of being smooth, his weary, exhausted lines gone. Wishing to trace her fingers across the mark which held him captive within the Main on his forehead to his gaunt cheekbones due to recuperation from blood loss to his handsome, chiseled jaw, Tenten felt her fists involuntary close on another.
To touch him was to accept change. The start of a new beginning, a new life. Her lips parted slightly as she exhaled, her gaze steadfast--
"Now is the time you say, 'I do'."
--And she momentarily forgot to breathe.
Facing Neji with trembling hands and quivering lips, she managed to crack a smile. "I feared I would start crying," Tenten breathed softly, wringing the bouquet in her hands, "and that would not do for being a bride of a Hyuuga." Tilting her head slightly, she gazed at him through tearing eyes. "But now I do not care."
Met with a brief silence at her bold declaration, she felt firm fingers lightly cup beneath her chin in a dejavu manner, gently pulling her face near him at a slight angle. "No?" Neji whispered, his breath caressing her lips, "But what of a wife?" Combing his fingers through her hair softly and tilting her head to meet his, the other arm pulled her closer by the waist. "The wife of a Hyuuga?" he continued faintly, closing the space between them with the intention of a kiss.
Lids fluttering lightly at his close proximity and touch, Tenten released a sigh of pure contentment. "Perhaps," she murmured, lips curling in delight. "Perhaps it will be alright."
Neji's grip around her waist tightened. "Say it," he breathed impatiently.
Tenten laughed in reply before coyly eying the Byakugan user. "I do," came her compliant answer before she was silenced by his lips descending on hers in a sweet, chaste kiss before breaking apart. His pale orbs caught her hazy gaze.
"It is finished," Neji stated plainly, his arm still around her middle as the two newlyweds gazed towards the crowd. Head lowering towards hers in an intimate manner, his mouth hovered above her ear.
"Right," was Tenten's breathy reply, her mind in a state of pure elation as she allowed him to guide her a few steps forward towards the aisle of dark carpet and strewn petals. And with the spoken ceremony completed, Tenten couldn't help but do what any other woman does in her case. She cried. She wept silent tears for life, for change, and for new beginnings. A brief reminder for the past and what it had taught her, and for the present, showing her how much she has grown.
Exhaling slightly, as if in a sense releasing the remnants of her past life, a tight squeeze to her hand jolted her out of her reverie. Releasing a nervous sort of giggle Tenten gave her new husband a bashful smile, a tinge of pink flushing through her cheeks at being caught in the act. She knew he did not like to see her cry, but this time, perhaps, Neji would forgive her for showing a sign of weakness.