Another NejiTen. A slightly dark fic, but with a happy ending. I don't do angst and tragedy.
Also, Neji doesn't die. Okay? So don't freak out.
Warning: Moderate violence. Just fighting.
The Man I Love
How could he…?
These words ran through Tenten's mind as her horrified gaze traveled from the (mercifully) closed white eyes of her best friend to the trickle of crimson that made its way down his chin.
Chocolate-brown eyes wrenched themselves away from the living nightmare and focused on the…the thing in front of her.
Thin, bloodless lips curled into a sadistic leer.
"Little girl, those shiny knives of yours are useless when it comes to an invasion the mind… Kunai were never known to fend off horror."
Yellow eyes followed her every move, noting the reflexive tightening of knuckles around the handle of her katana.
"No…no…never." Her voice rose into a snarl. "You'll never win. You…you beastly thing. I WON'T LET YOU… Soushouryu!"
The demon on the ground looked on impassively as she began spiraling with her twin dragons.
"I already told you, you foolish child…"
An impressive array of weaponry raced dangerously toward their apathetic target.
Tenten's eyes widened in ghastly shock as the metals sank deeply into gray flesh.
"…you cannot kill what is already dead."
"What…? But…" She sank to the ground from lack of chakra.
The sneer of the humanoid demon only grew. "Listen to your elders…" He mocked in a perverse voice. Shaking off the weapons like a dog does with water, he spat on the ground in front of her.
The contempt on his face lit a candle of animalistic rage within her. To be scorned by a demon…her gentle eyes darkened to black with abhorrence.
"Foolish little girl. Here, I'll let your pathetic life go. You'll probably have watery blood, anyway." He smiled, a twisted grimace that showed yellowed fangs.
His only response was a stare merged of shock, disgust, and anger.
"You heard me right. Go now, shoo…"
Ebony eyes flickered to the boy propped against the tree.
He caught on quickly. Oh, how amusing mortals were, with their painted images of loyalty and self-sacrifice.
Someone really need remind those fools of Nature's Law.
"Oh, no no no, you naughty girl...I need my meals, after all."
Her eyes widened in dread and revulsion.
"What the hell are you?" She croaked.
"Merely a creature, born of shadows, who feeds on blood, meat, and fear." The grimace came again.
Tenten straightened up, not noticing that she had slumped. "No. That's…you...them...no. Never."
"I gave you your chance, you insolent mortal. Ah, well, stringy meat or no, you die."
A giant fuuma shuriken zipped out of the trees. A gray hand reached out and caught it. A few drops of black blood oozed out of his fingers. Nothing more.
"You humans just don't learn, do you? Tsk, tsk, tsk…"
A grisly grin made its way onto his features as he pictured the next scene.
"My turn…" With a violent burst of power, his mind began expanding.
Neji's wispy consciousness finally restored itself into his tortured body. His eyes creaked open to slits just as Tenten collapsed onto her knees.
"Illusions, illusions, they're not real, calm yourself. Nightmares can't hurt you…" Such thoughts ran through the kunoichi's mind as she felt herself being encircled by a sphere of Genjutsu.
"Hey! It's wor-!" A man's scream shattered her optimistic thoughts.
Tenten's body moved of it's own accord, rushing down the road to a little dip in scenery, where she ground to a stunned halt.
"N-Naruto-san? Lee-kun? Gai-sensei?" Her voice was faint, disbelieving, the voice of a lost child.
A scene of lurid carnage spread throughout her vision. All of Konoha… And red, there was so much red, so many clouded eyes that would never see again. Her eyes swept over the pile of corpses again.
It was horrible. Gross.
Despite it all however, she felt a strange distance between herself and the gruesome images.
"This is just a dream. Yes, it's not real…"
Unmistakable white eyes snapped her out of her daze. She felt herself walking over and crouching by a hideously familiar face.
The demon stared at the figure inside his illusion, head bowed, loose tendrils of hair spilling around her face. A vicious sneer of amusement adorned his features.
Humans: they were always whining about love, true love, their beloved. Suddenly, his eyes lit up as he formulated a perverse plan to torture this girl's soul beyond repair.
Turning, yellow eyes found their target – the boy slumped in the shadow of an oak, the boy with such pretty eyes.
"Neji-kun?" A ghostly hand reached out to touch his cheek, where a smear of ruby already adorned. Her hand traced down his chin, his neck…and suddenly plunged into a deep crevasse in the vein of his life's blood.
Extracting her fingers from his neck, Tenten stared blankly at the stain on her nails, uncomprehending.
Then, as if a switch had suddenly been broken, everything there became real, solid, even closer than reality. Her body quivered for a moment, lost in the sudden vividness of the savage landscape.
The last thing she recalled was a ripping sound, as if something was literally tearing the illusion apart.
Neji saw the face shifting closer within his distorted, patchy vision. The Nightmare Nin, indeed. Tsunade-sama had warned them of his powerful illusions, but she'd never mentioned he was a cannibal.
Feeling a shudder run through his body, he recalled the memories and possibilities his mind had been forced to suffer through.
"So that's his tactic, neh? Drive people mad and eat them." He thought cynically. "First time you've figured something out too late is also the last time."
However, looking beyond what he thought would've been his last image before death, his eyes widened at the sight of a glowing figure rising, the shards of potent Genjutsu scattered amidst her feet.
"Oh, just wait until she wakes and sees your body in shreds around her." A raspy voice murmured near the Hyuuga's ear, drawing his senses back to what lay in front of him. The sound carried with it the smell of carrion, the scent of a long-abandoned grave.
"Yes, you will make a tasty-"
"Don't you dare." The voice was hoarse, cracked as if from eons of disuse. It was far too low to be hers – a ragged growl.
The creature paused for a moment, and pasting a sarcastic smile on his features, turned around to face her. No one had escaped his illusions before. Beneath the mask, his jaw dropped in shock.
"Or you'll what?"
The girl standing in front of him had scarlet blood staining her hands up to her wrists, where the liquid ended so abruptly it looked as if she was sporting gloves the color of death. She ignored him.
"Don't you dare touch him." Sinister blue eyes danced like the waves in a tempest storm.
Slim fingers slapped the air in front of her. The gray face felt the blow on his own cheek. "Don't throw around shit in my mind, 'kay?"
Taking the obvious bait, he began striding over. "You wench, I'll-" And he suddenly released his mind.
Neji watched, wincing inwardly, as the surge of Genjutsu flooded toward Tenten. It met her hands halfway. Her fingers somehow grabbed the magic, as though it were fabric, and ripped it straight down the middle. All the while, those eerie blue eyes watched their target.
Then she smiled, revealing fangs of her own, and snarled, "You said I couldn't kill you, so I'll just rip you apart…"
She leapt then, arms outstretched, and soared past the stunned monster, grabbing hold of one of his shoulders, and pulling. It popped away, releasing a tide of black blood.
The other shoulder followed suit.
And then she was there again, right by his ear, and he knew once more, the whisper of death, her cold embrace, and this time, there would be no escape.
However, as she pulled away the second arm, Tenten caught a glimpse of Neji, still, unmoving. Not seeing the slits of his eyes, she immediately assumed the worst.
The calm before the storm broke.
Hands violently ravaged the man's face, slicing through flesh like a vengeful god's weapon, forged of hatred and blind fury.
"You will never, ever, as long as I live, touch his body! You want to know who I am? You want to know how I did it? Well just know this: THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU PISS OFF A GIRL AND KILL THE MAN SHE LOVES!" Tears of rage blurred her sight, coursing down her chapped cheeks, stinging, painful, but nothing compared to the lethe she felt inside.
She pulled out her katana, shafts of light sliding down the edges.
Neji was dead, all because of this bastard. She had felt his blood on her own hands in that landscape of the dead. Killing this devil a thousand times over would. Not. Bring. Neji. Back.
Each thought was punctuated with a vicious stab in the corpse. The last attempt drove the metal deep into the heart, pinning the last remnants of the shinobi onto the clearing, where it would rest eternally in a mausoleum made by Mother Earth.
Finally noting the liquid covering her hands, she peeled off her bloodstained hands. They fell away like snakeskin, butterflies emerging from a chrysalis.
"I'm not going to touch one drop of your filthy blood." With her job done, the possessive spirit shrank back into the imaginative recesses of her carrier's mind. Shadowy blue eyes faded, to be replaced by a familiar cocoa brown.
Neji only watched dazedly as the figure staggered toward the edge of the clearing, where she slumped against another tree, oblivious to the carnage before her.
A low, keening cry tore out of her small frame as she raised her head up to stare at the deceitfully pure sky. The unearthly sound sent chills down the Hyuuga's spine.
"Neji-kun…I need you…" Her voice, now restored to its normal lilt, called out a blessing, a prayer, a plea.
The sobs finally subsided into silence.
With an inhuman strength that he wondered about for months later, Neji pushed his throbbing body upright and stumbled toward the girl who loved him sincerely enough to summon feral fey.
Softly crying into her sleeves, arms wrapped tightly around her knees, Tenten let her rage boil down until all that was left at the bottom was grief.
Seven years of watching, of peering at him behind foliage, of fighting the gnawing craving to let him know her feelings, once and for all, whilst balancing it against the rejection she knew would come. Why did it have to be today, of all days? Why today, when she had vowed to tell him tomorrow? But then again, that's what she had said yesterday. And the day before that. And…
Warmth enveloped Tenten's body and meandered its way into her detached mind.
Her first thoughts that she was in heaven were quickly banished by a feathery touch brushing against her lips. It was too substantial, to tangible to be celestial. She reached out and pulled the mass toward her, fearing that it would splinter apart at any moment, and she would be left grasping air.
It was real, and for a while afterward, Tenten had no thoughts at all – just the instinctive need to be near him, to feel protected, like a child in a womb.
"You are one amazing woman."
Burying her head into his chest, she felt his voice box vibrate, and knew that her Neji had finally wandered out of the doldrums between boy and man, and had become one of the latter.
Chuckling to herself, she replied, "No one messes with the man I love."
Standing there, supporting each other, they were close, and yet so far away from the horror of just a few moments ago.
"Neji?" Came the muffled voice again.
"Just a little thing you should know…"
"Scare me like that again, and Hizashi will never have grandchildren."
Wow. That was the most depressing fic I have ever wrote, and is the most depressing thing I will ever write, which is saying something, since it was just all dark drama, and no real tragedy. Like I said, I don't do angst.
Hope you guys were pleased with the ending. I also hope you guys don't think it's too far-fetched, or Mary-Sueish. It is pretty non-realistic, but I woke up one day with the phrase, "Don't you dare touch the man I love" running through my head, and yeah...things progressed from there.
I know Hizashi's dead, but it sounded better than "and there goes your kids." or something. XD
Review, and I'll...I'll...aw, I can't think of anything right now. Just review please. 'makes puppy eyes'