A/N: Just a little bit of NejiTen for Goldberry, done at someone else's point of view at her request. For those of you who are waiting on me to update Daring To Bleed, you should know that I've got a goal to post chapter three by the end of the month. There is a mix of being really busy and the fic not wanting to be written that is delaying it. Sorry! Please be patient with me.
Disclaimer: Don't own Naruto, although I tend to dream that I own Hyuuga Neji.
She had come here with the intention to read. The library had received a new shipment of medicine-oriented books and Sakura had chosen to enjoy one of them while outside beneath the shade of her favorite willow tree near the training grounds. She was alone, naturally, with a tall water bottle as her only companion beside the weighty volume in her hands.
It wasn't yet noon, but it wasn't early. The young kunoichi knew that the grounds would be quiet and undisturbed now that morning training sessions were over and it would be awhile before anyone returned from lunch. By then, she would have to be on her way to her own lesson with the Godaime. This time was Sakura's, and she cherished the cool breeze that whipped her hair every now and then, and how the sun sent patterns shooting through the leaves to glimmer on the grass.
She opened the book, hoping that Kakashi-sensei would not suddenly find her and ask what she was reading lest he suspect it was a copy of Icha Icha Tactics. He had done so once and teased her for weeks even though she had only been reading a collection of essays on blood transfusions.
Sakura found it was too easy to get relaxed out here against warm grass and rough bark. She stifled a yawn behind her hand and made sure she didn't lean too much on the tree for fear that she would drop her guard.
Before she could read to the end of the first passage, there was an indistinct murmur. As though in confirmation that her alertness had not failed her, Sakura's gaze shot up and to her left.
What met her eyes was almost as startling as if it had been an approaching enemy shinobi instead of Hyuuga Neji and Tenten sitting several trees away.
Together. With Tenten cradled against Neji's chest as he leaned against the trunk of a strong oak tree. One of them had said something, and although Sakura could not hear any actual words, she realized that Tenten was speaking to her teammate. Sakura didn't wonder what she was saying but why they were there.
She knew that Neji and Tenten trained together every morning. She knew that they were close partners among the whole of Team Gai and that their combined talents created quite the force to be reckoned with. Sakura had even been assigned to missions with Tenten enough times to both consider her a friend and understand that whatever feeling she held for Neji were very important to her.
And, of course, she had heard the rumors that Neji held the same feelings in return. But she had never gone so far as to assume that they might be true.
Their clothes were rumpled from the training, Tenten's hair was beginning to loosen from her buns, and Neji had dust marks on his usually-severe face, but they were indeed a handsome pair. The dappled sunlight of the late morning, they seemed to…rest, Sakura could only think. Rest together while the world turned around them while they gave it not so much as a glance.
Sakura wondered if perhaps this wasn't just her time after all.
The clan of Hyuuga was a proud one. Sakura knew that it was often considered inappropriate for them to mingle with outsiders and it was a common custom for spouses to be chosen for any of their members. This she had learned from Hinata, who seemed to be fearing her encroaching seventeenth birthday. Neji was already seventeen, and Sakura supposed that it was only a matter of time before he was betrothed to a woman of equal status.
And it wouldn't be Tenten.
Sakura was suddenly overcome by a horrible, aching sadness that seemed to seep out from the deepest layers of her heart to the outermost ends of her soul. Watching them, there was no question that Neji had accepted Tenten as both teammate and more. His arms were wound around her in a way that spoke of possession and also…completion. Sakura took a deep breath when one of those warrior's hands of his lifted to lightly brush some escaped soil-colored hair.
Tenten was smiling. She smiled much for people but not like this. This was a smile reserved for the man holding her, and Sakura felt somewhat guilty for spying (although being so close by happenstance couldn't really be considered spying). The older kunoichi raised a hand in an action similar to Neji's and shielded her face from the sun. Beams of light still shimmered in the spaces between her fingers and shone onto her cheeks.
And then Neji moved his hand from her hair to her wrist, filling the empty space between the digits with his own. The sun was blocked completely now.
Sakura couldn't help but think that that was how those two seemed to be. Light constantly trying to make its way through, and they had to work together to make sure that it didn't succeed. The light had to stay inside. It had to stay carefully hidden so that it would not open the eyes of those who would tear them apart of they didn't stay blind.
Their hands finally lowered with Tenten's held firmly in Neji's. A cloud had rolled in front of the sun to block them from it – for now. When Tenten twisted in her lover's arms to press her lips to the white-eyed boy's, Sakura looked away because she knew that it was meant to be a secret.
Moments later, when she left without detection, she was unable to hold back a silent wish for her two comrades. She wished that somehow there would be a day when they did not have to hide themselves in shadow while the sun shone for those freer than they.
Sakura wished that their inner light would one day be free to shine for the world to see.