Disclaimer: Hmm… Naruto is not mine, obviously!
"Here you are, Sasuke-kun!" Haruno Sakura smiles and offers her pink-wrapped gift to the silent Uchiha. He receives it, looking right into her emerald eyes and smirks, "Thanks, Sakura." He says as he suddenly takes out a blue box and hands it over, "Here."
From the place I am standing, I can see my pink-haired kunoichi friend blushes as she squeals delight. It is not a secret that she holds the biggest crush ever to the boy. I am not confused, though. Ever since he came back from Orochimaru, he has grown hot and incredibly sexy.
I stare into the I, where the two lovers are seated. They are staring into each other's eyes, hands holding to their gifts, that I couldn't stop myself wondering: will he accept my gift?
I peer to the bag I am holding. There are four gifts wrapped neatly with plain peach papers with small swirls of lilacs on it – I am not a lover when it comes to sparkly and glittery things, so this plain wrapper is just fine for me. The first box is a gift for Ino – a set of kunais hand-forged in my courtesy. She has begun to develop interest in weapon as well that I assumed she has been hanging around me, the weapon mistress of Konoha, too much.
The second box is for Gai-sensei: a blue spandex in his size. Hey, a change of color is not that bad! Sometimes green blinds my eyes, without reasons. The next one is for Lee: another blue spandex in my teammate's size. I have snooped that spandexes just in time – the big clearance sale in the factory outlet in the marketplace. Well, to say that they gave me seventy-percent discount... Anyway, the gifts for them, I reckon, must be acceptable.
I peer into the bag once more, and my eyes land to the box down under. That is my gift for him. Yes, him... Namely Hyuuga Neji.
As far as I know, he doesn't celebrate Valentine's Day, but surely it is not a crime to give him a gift, right? I have a hard time finding him one, though. I mean, what thing he doesn't have? He comes from one of the most prestigious clans ever existed, so basically he has everything.
I have seen his bedroom once – it is huge, even bigger than my apartment flat altogether! Neji has filled it with bookshelves since he likes to read, but even with five or so bookcases, the room still feels so empty to my eyes. If I am him, I will feel lonely there. The only thing that accompanies you is non-living things.
And based on that conclusion, finally I decided to give him a st…
I look up and flash a cheery smile at the two figures approaching me. "Hey, Gai-sensei, Lee! Happy Valentine's Day!" I say sweetly.
Lee tackles me into a warm, friendly hug as Gai-sensei chooses to kneel down on one knee, holds my hand and kisses it, saying, "Happy Valentine too, my flower!" He stands up and suddenly plunges a gift into my arms. When I eye him in confusion, he winks, "Valentine's gift, from Lee and I!"
I smile happily, "Thank you!" I mutter, a part of myself really grateful, when another part simply hopes that the gift is not a green spandex. Over the years, ever since I was twelve (Now I'm eighteen), they gave me and Neji a green spandex for each holiday or celebration: New Years, Valentines, Thanksgiving, Christmases, and birthdays.
Up to now, I have more than ten spandexes lying down in my wardrobe.
"So Tenten, have you meet Neji or not?" Lee asks.
I shake my head no.
"If you want, you better go this evening or later. The Hyuugas are having some yearly meeting or something like that," he continues, "Neji-kun and Hinata-san are not available until evening, the guards say."
I nod, "I know."
"Ah, Tenten!" Gai-sensei winks once more, "Are you waiting for a date or something?"
"No, of course not." I force myself to laugh, "I am just waiting for Ino – to have a cup of coffee and have a nice little chat." I smile, remembering the gifts, and take out my gifts for them. "Here, Lee, Gai-sensei. My thanks to you two."
The two accept the gifts with wide smiles and bid goodbye to me, noting that they will spend the rest of the day in our training grounds, training.
As they leave, Ino comes by. She flashes me a greeting and we walk into the nearest café, across from the café where Sakura and Sasuke are seating. After we are seated, I take out my gift for her and smile, "Here, Ino. Happy Valentine's day!"
She squeals and receives the gift, and then gives me a green box. "Happy Valentine too, Tenten." She says as she smiles mischievously.
"So how is your day yet?" I ask, as a waiter comes by and takes our orders.
"I haven't meet Shika-kun yet, but he promises me a date this evening. I have got him a new shougi board! He will like it, wouldn't he?" Ino pauses, looking thoughtful, "Sakura prepares a book about fire-elemental jutsus that Sasuke-kun will surely like, and I heard that Hinata is giving Naruto three boxes of cup ramen in every flavor!"
She pauses again and looks at me meaningfully, as I get very self-conscious indeed. Sakura, Ino and Hinata are giving the boys what they like, while I…
"Hey, Tenten." Ino waves her hand on my face, "You have met Neji, haven't you? You said that he wants to train at five AM everyday? Have you given him your gift?"
I return her questions with a faint smile as I explain, "He didn't show up training today, so I haven't meet him yet. Lee said that he is having meetings with the Hyuugas, so…" I smile again, "Never mind, though. There are still thirteen hours until the day is over."
Ino smiles back, "Yeah, I figured that out," she jokes back, rolling her eyes with full sarcasm, "What's your gift, anyway?"
I grin secretively, "It's a secret." I say with full confidence, although I don't feel very comfortable at all.
Ino grins again. "Well, good luck with it!" She lowers her head and whispers, "Although, are you sure you have no intention on telling me what your gift is for your… ehm, so-called crush?" She asks, giving the emphasis on the word crush.
I blush and glare at her in horror. Although it is true, but she doesn't have to rub it in!
She smirks, "Okay, okay, I'm not going to ask about that again." Ino says, "When are you meeting with him?"
"I don't know." I reply honestly.
"You haven't make up a date or something like that?" She asks concernedly.
I pause, and then quietly say, "No… I haven't."
"What?" Ino glares at me, "You know that Neji is popular, don't you? How come you make no dates with him? He may be taken by any other random girl!"
"… Well, I should think not." I say, smiling in a little satisfaction, "Neji doesn't like to date. He will never make any dates."
"What if he does?" Ino shoots back, "You never know, Tenten. Sometimes boys can just hide it all from our faces. Reality check! What if he actually has a girlfriend? What if he actually is not having a meeting with the elders of Hyuuga but in a date with a special girl? What if..?"
"Enough with the 'what ifs'!" I laugh. "No, Ino. Neji is not like that."
"How do you know?"
"… Well, I just know." I roll my eyes, knowing that it is true. Neji doesn't like to date, and he doesn't do things he doesn't like. Simply put, he must be in a meeting with the elders. Nothing else will keep him away from training, right? He loves training.
Ino looks a bit thoughtful. "Well… good for you." She says, tilting her head. And suddenly she smiles, "I just hope for the best… okay?"
I grin, "Thank you." I whisper gratefully, "You too, Ino. With Shikamaru."
She smiles mischievously and sips her lemon tea. "… Anyway," she begins, "I am thinking to have another girls' night out. You know… we need to exchange our Valentines, right?"
"Sure." I agree, "So when will it be and where?"
"… I am thinking about Hinata's mansion…" Ino grins again, "… Probably we can bring you and someone together…"
I smile at her idea as I let her go on and on about her plan. I think she should be an Event Organizer – Ino is really good at organizing parties and such, she's loud but energetic, and I think that is the reason Shikamaru loves her. Yes, indeed it is not a secret too that the boy likes my friend.
Speaking about friends, Sakura too has her luck. Even if Uchiha Sasuke doesn't show it too often, but it is quite obvious that he holds interest in Sakura. Hmm… my friends are really lucky, aren't they? From her last letter, Temari has mentioned that she is involved in a love triangle… An untangled web that needs to be untangled or something like that she calls it.
However, I am most concern about Hinata. The shy, easy-to-embarrass girl has been falling and falling for the loudest shinobi of all: Uzumaki Naruto. Needless to say, he is oblivious to her feelings as well as she is oblivious to his feelings! Oh, well…
Really, sometimes having friends that are concern with you pays it off. No matter how bad your day is, when they are around, they could always make you smile. I think that is what makes friendships worthwhile…
I peer at the last box in my bag. As stubborn as I am, I never really think that I am this stubborn to decide to give him a gift. A gift like this, moreover. But I don't know anything else that he doesn't have.
Simply put, Neji is probably the richest guy you could find in the streets. Not that I snatch him out from the streets, but anyway…
"… So are you going or not, Tenten?" Ino breaks through my thoughts. "Next Saturday, Hinata's mansion. I have called her about that and she said okay."
"Is Temari coming?" I ask, remembering my friend from Suna. She is older two years than me, which makes her probably the most mature of us all. But… speaking of Temari, she really is not that mature. She often gets into troubles – with Ino, mostly because they have interest in the same Nara Shikamaru. Although Temari has her own love lives in Suna, she states that Shikamaru is always the best.
"… Well, I don't think so." Ino frowns, "She says Gaara is giving her so much work that she couldn't even find a minute to rest."
"… Gaara, eh?" I repeat. That kazekage friend of mine is surely very strict when it comes to work. He is a very clever boy, I could say that. In the age of seventeen only, he has made Suna one of the most productive villages of all.
"But she says that she will try to plead Gaara about it." Ino continues, "Though I doubt Gaara will give her the chance."
"Temari is a clever girl." I note, "She probably will say something about missions and Gaara will give her way, although… dubiously."
Ino laughs. "Yeah, I think so, too."
We spend the rest of the hour talking about things in generals, until it is about time she should be going to meet Shikamaru. Ino bids me goodbye and quickly vanishes out of the café, leaving me alone…
… to pay for the bills.
I frown, putting a certain amount of money on the table and leave too. Seeing the now reddening sky, it is also about time for me to go and meet Neji… and give him his gift.
So, in order to do that, I walk to the Hyuuga mansion.
I am so sleepy. My feet feel so numb. It has already been around five hours since I entered the Hyuuga mansion – no, not exactly entering. I sneaked inside the shinobi way, since in front of the gates there are two wary guards.
Oh well, I should just wait here, sitting on a branch. If Neji takes so long in the meeting, it must be something good, then. Probably he gets the permission to participate in the Hyuuga clan leader election next year, since he is nearing twenty.
Yeah, that must be it.
Even if he doesn't say it clearly, I know he favors being the leader and that Hiashi even likes him. I know that he is capable of leading – he has shown his leadership skills oftentimes when we are on a mission…
But having him lead the clan means getting rid of Hinata as the Hyuuga heir too… That is why sometimes I always feel so in between… I don't know who to root for. My crush, my teammate who is very capable to lead, or my best friend who, even if she doesn't show it, wants to be a leader?
Then again, it is none of my business. Let them two cousins take care of their problem.
I glance at the watch on my wrist. It is eight o'clock sharp, and Neji is still in the meeting room. He must have something interesting there…
It's okay, I'll just wait for another few minutes…
I open my eyes and gasp. Shoot, I must have fallen asleep while waiting! I gaze at my watch. Oh, shoot… 12.01 AM! I am late. Valentine's day is over and I will never have another chance to give him his gift.
"Finally you're awake."
I blink once more as I turn around. Neji is standing behind me, arms cross on his chest as he stares at me in disbelief. I gasp as I realize my surroundings – yes, this is his room.
"… Neji!" At last I open my mouth.
He smirks and sits down beside me, "What brings you here, Tenten?"
I peer into my plastic bag – it seems like I didn't let it go even when I fell asleep on the branch… "Well, I…" I start, taking out the peach-wrapped gift and giving it to him, "Well, today… no, I mean yesterday was Valentine's Day… So…"
"For me?" He looks somewhat amused.
"… Yes." I say quietly. "Sorry… I got it to you late."
He smirks as he takes the gift out of my hand. He peers to the wrapping paper suspiciously, "May I open it?" Neji asks as he looks into my eyes.
I breathe and nod. Whatever will be, will be.
He peels off the wrapping paper consciously, slowly taking out the tapes that he takes the paper off effortlessly without even tearing it to half. He is amusing. Most guys wouldn't bother about having the wrapping paper still neat!
I breathe once more as he open the box carefully.
"… Oh, Tenten…"
"I think it's so lonely for you to sleep alone at nights…" I try to give him a faint smile, but I fail. I am in the verge of my tears, noting that his expression is only surprise and nothing else. "… So… yeah, I make that for you… I know it's not perfect… But… but…"
He smiles warmly at me. "Thank you." Neji says. "… I really mean it, Tenten. It's very cute."
"Cute?" I look at him in horror, and then at the small stuffed panda on his lap. Yes, I had sewn him a stuffed panda for a Valentine's gift. "Did you just say cute?"
"… You don't have to say that, you know."
"I mean it." Neji says quietly, stroking the panda's ears. He gazes at me meaningfully and gives me a smile, "Would you give me the chance to name it?"
"Name it?" I repeat again. I am acting like a fool, but Neji's reaction is so surprising that I can't even hold back any expression anymore.
He smiles. "Yes."
"… Of course! It's yours! You name it!"
Once again he gives me a mysterious smile that has always been his trademark – and one of the reasons why I am so deeply in love with him too.
"How about…" He starts, looking at me and at the panda, "Ten-chan?"
"What!" I stare at him in disbelief.
"Ten-chan." He repeats, blushing suddenly.
I gaze at him, trying to figure out what he is thinking, but I fail, as any other people fails. Neji is not an easy-to-read. "… Nice name." I say at last, smiling in agreement. And then I remember something. "Neji, how's your meeting?"
He looks thoughtful, and then he smiles at me gratefully. "… I may apply for the leader position." He says quietly, "… But I don't think that it is my goal for now. Hinata-sama is a very kind-hearted girl, she is more suited to be a leader than I am."
"… You always have dreamed of being a leader." I point out slowly and carefully.
Neji smirks, "Well, I have."
"I don't give the allowance up, Tenten." He says, "I'm just reconsidering it."
"You are capable and skilled enough to be the patriarch." I say quietly, looking into his eyes, "But Neji, whatever your decision is, I believe that you choose the best for yourself."
He reaches out and grips my hand for a second. "Thanks for believing in me, Tenten."
I smile back at him.
He stands up and suddenly drags me with him to a corner of his bedroom, where a box lays untouched. I examine the box carefully. It is medium-sized, gift-wrapped neatly and nicely that I wonder who is this addressed for.
"For you." Neji says simply.
I look at him in disbelief. "For me?"
"Yes." He smirks, "Do you think I am that oblivious to not give you a gift in Valentine's Day?"
"Mmm…" Yes. I smile at him in gratitude, feeling moved yet touched. I never think that he will prepare a gift for me too… "Thank you, Neji."
He nods. "Open it."
I walk to the box, taking off the paper in his style – the tapes first, then the paper – and quietly take of the lid. I peer inside the box – and I gasp.
He smiles, "Do you like it?"
"I love it!" I say, pulling out the gift and hanging it free. It is a huge panda – ready to cuddle! "Oh, Neji, this is so sweet!"
Neji smirks. "… Of course." He says cockily.
I smile at him and quickly look at his hands, where Ten-chan is seated comfortably. Cuddling his gift for me, I pull Ten-chan out of his arms and place the two pandas on his bed, sitting cutely doing nothing.
We stand around one meter far from the pandas, examining it.
I look at him mischievously, "I will name it Ne-chan!" I declare, speaking the syllable in the way you speak the 'Ne' out of 'Neji'.
He smirks. "By the way…" Neji says, "Your watch is too fast around an hour."
I stare at my watch. 12.18. I glance at the clock hanging on the wall. 11.12. "It is?" I ask him, somewhere between disbelief and amusement. Thank goodness it is too fast!
"Then…" I look at him, calculating my decisions carefully, "… Do you want to go out and have dinner?"
"… Have you eaten dinner?" He asks back.
"… Let's, then." Neji says, reaching out and holding my hand. I smile at him, and suddenly feel the urge of doing something else. I move closer to him, face-to-face, and stand in my toes.
I kiss his cheek lightly as he blushes sweetly.
"Happy Valentine's Day, Neji."
So I was trying to write with present tense instead of the usual past tense… and I'm asking: is this good? Thank you for reading: reviews are always welcomed!
Oh, I can always write another chapter of the other pairings if you like... IF you like. I am not pushing myself too much, so if you want another chapter, just request with the pairing, okay? I'll try my best to meet up to your expectations.