Notes: This is the end of Unexpected Hero. Yup, I think I've done enough and strayed way too far from what I intended it to be. I hope you all enjoyed, but this isn't the end of NejiTen for me. I'm working on many NejiTen projects, but I won't be starting another NejiTen multichapter fic for a while, I think.
Chapter 15: Conclusion
What Neji had always wanted was Tenten all to himself. He didn't want to share her, not at all, with anyone else, anyone that would take her attentions away from him. He always wanted Tenten to smile only at him, Tenten to only touch him, Tenten to only kiss him. No one else was worthy of her affections, his selfish habits kept her isolated.
He wanted to wake up every morning with Tenten in his arms, long lashes closed gracefully as she silently slept in a thin silk nightgown, hair unbound and cascading through his fingers. She would be cuddled into his side, her head resting in the crook of his shoulder. He would wake her with a kiss to the hollow base of her neck and her eyes would flutter open sleepily, and she would smile, mind still full of dreams. And he would hold her for a while, relishing in the comfort of her warm skin.
He would then get ready and she would cheerfully pad downstairs to make them breakfast, and he would come up behind her and kiss her neck, making her jump and then laugh. She would wear a pretty frilly apron not because she liked those things but because he did, and they would watch the stove quietly.
He wanted them to be alone, her smile would be only his to enjoy.
They would live in a comfortable house, just the two of them, with a cozy kitchen that had windows without drapes so the sun could always come in and a small table for them to enjoy meals.
He would eat a rather good breakfast, albeit a little fussing around, and then she would sweetly ask him to help her with the dishes. When they finished, he would wrap his arms around her and they'd tumble onto a couch, her laugh tickling his ears and they'd rest there, doing nothing in particular just listening to each other's breathing in companionable silence.
They'd get up later and spar in the field our back, or if they were up to it, a simple mission to pass the time. They would have lunch at the dango shop or takeout, and he would fend of the glances of other men. Then at night, ANBU would call him, and she would kiss him goodbye and told him to be safe. He would stay alive just for her, because she wished him too.
It was just her alone with him, and that was all he needed. And when he returned, they'd make love with the moon as their witness.
Their wedding would be as many weddings go, and she would say clearly, "I do" and his life would be complete when he bent down to kiss her.
They would have a boy that looked like his father and smiled like his mother.
Instead, he woke up with Tenten's back to him, cotton shorts and an oversized shirt over her frame, short hair stopping at the nape of her neck. She was grumpy when she woke up, but that wasn't much of an improvement of himself really, and she tended to kick in her sleep. She'd roll out of bed, yawning and trumping downstairs, hair sticking up in odd angles in the back.
They lived with 4 other men, all able to divert her attention from him, and who often did it to provoke him. The window was large but the kitchen was larger, and Tenten shuffled around with sizzling pans, no apron.
Food was served not only to him but to Shikamaru, Sasuke, Lee and Naruto, the latter two rather unbearable in the morning, and Tenten often gave the burnt edges to him as though not to favor him and have the rest of the house protesting of bias due to Neji taking advantage of her. Neji crankily thought that he had every right to take advantage of her; after all, she was his.
Still, she would eat her food with their hands intertwined underneath the table, and that was what Neji would make due of. Of course, both Neji and Tenten weren't the type to show public displays of affection that exceeded a peck on the cheek, so the rest of the house could only settle on this. Well, they knew what happened at night, which was a completely different story.
Then when everyone was done and the table talk was sufficient enough, she would stand and ask Naruto or Sasuke or Lee or Shikamaru (everyone but him, he noted) to help her with the dishes. Everyone complied, and they would stand side by side, with Tenten washing and said accomplice drying. She would be in deep conversation with one of them, and he couldn't just stand there and watched them, so he would force himself away to settle on his still favorite furniture in the house (next to his bed of course, with Tenten), the loveseat.
She didn't join him on it, instead, heading out for groceries with Lee in tow. He would stand and accompany them, but Tenten had already darted out the door. Disgruntled, he settled on reading scrolls, meditating and sparring with inanimate objects (that were not Tenten) until they got back. Anxious until they did, he would look up to see Lee beam at him with an armful of groceries and Tenten finally dropping her exhausted frame next to him (since grocery shopping with Lee was extra hard and tedious, since he had the disposition of a five-year-old in a candy store, but she did it anyway). She would curl up into his side, and that would make up for any anxious feelings and doubts.
When ANBU missions were called for, she watched them get ready, leaning against the door frame with an annoyed Sasuke (who still couldn't be an ANBU), helping them with the clasps and ties, adjusting their masks, and kissing each one of them on the cheek. Lee would grin joyfully, Naruto would blush and Shikamaru would roll his eyes.
Neji, of course, enjoyed it the most, since she gave him a peck on the lips. Still, he felt uncomfortable watching her kiss the others, and she would wish them to be careful, not only him. And leaving her alone with Sasuke unnerved her, but he proved no substitute, since he took more missions than their team did.
When he would come home, bloody and sweaty, she would already be up nursing a warm mug of tea between her hands. She would look all of them up and down, and chide how bloody they all were and usher them up to the showers. Neji would wait behind, and in the kitchen alone, he would relieve himself of a well-needed kiss. She would smile up at him and said he was getting blood on her clothes. After he had fully cleaned up she proceeded to his room, since these nights, and rather all nights, he wanted her with him.
When he finally pulled up the courage to propose, she had stared at him, who was watching her anxiously with a little velvet box in his shaky palms. Then ever so calmly, she refused. He stared at her, all composure crumbling and then she stood up and kissed the side of his mouth, saying she wasn't ready.
When he asked why, she said that she feared that he would marry her out of Hyuuga duty, and as soon as they were, they would have to move into the Hyuuga manor and she would have to live a life of servitude under him (but not the Branch House) as her superior.
Even when he told her he didn't even think about moving back into the Hyuuga household, that he wanted a little flat of their own, she still said no.
When they turned twenty, her hair had fully grown back to it's original length, and by Neji's insistence, she bound it up in her usual buns as soon as it was long enough to be. He, too, was also the first one to take them down at night.
Then during the blossoming of cherry blossom seasons, Naruto proposed to Sakura. She said yes and Sasuke gave his blessing. They were married two months later, just before Sakura grew bigger with their first child. Naruto officially dropped out of ANBU, ready to fully pursue his goal as Hokage, with his love and an anticipated child in tow. Sasuke took his place on the team, and they still worked efficiently, if not better.
Hinata was the bridesmaid that caught the bouquet.
Neji looked on in what looked like a form of envy, watching the married couple dance during the after party. Tenten sighed, turning his attention on her. He frowned, and she lifted herself gracefully to her feet, saying in a smooth voice, "Want to dance?"
Holding her in his arms while they swayed was comfortable; her form seemed to fit in the correct places against his. She rested her head against his shoulder, and he looked beyond her. He knew that if this was their dance, that she was the bride and he was the groom, he wouldn't need to worry anymore or envy any other married couple, since everyone would envy them.
If only so, he thought miserably.
Throughout most of the wedding and party, guests would say that they would be the next couple married. They even asked what they would like as gifts, just in case.
Tenten had attempted to smile, but Neji looked away, tightening his grip on Tenten's hand, whereas she would excuse herself from them and join him away.
He asked her again that night, with their sweat cooling on their backs under the sheets of their cramped bed. She still said no.
In the winter, Lee suffered a massive injury to his left leg, inflicting him from even walking. Tsunade healed as much as she could, as Sakura healed the rest, but there was always a rather pronounced limp, although it didn't affect much of his technique, except that he couldn't kick with his left leg, halting some exaggerated and extensive moves. Lee removed himself from ANBU, and settled for what he had always intended to do, that is teach his own Genin team, much like Team Gai.
He had named them Team Lee, of course, and Tenten and Neji had met his three students, a Hyuuga (Neji's Branch cousin), a cute girl with a knack with summoning animals and a small bushy-browed boy that lacked a fundamental ninjutsu base.
Lee taught them well, and he was happy being single with such close familial bonds, much like Gai. He was their beloved teacher's legacy, and all three of them visited Gai's grave once a week.
When they turned twenty-one, and still not married, Shikamaru transferred fully to Suna, to be with Temari of the Sand. Ino had been less than thrilled, but she had oddly settled down with her flower shop and Akimichi Chouji. Their wedding was festive and large, larger than even Naruto's, as Ino had looked splendid and Sakura was holding a child.
Tenten had held the child in her arms and Neji couldn't help but see how fitting it was, and how even more perfect it would look if the baby had lavender eyes. Tenten had instantly become the child's favorite family friend, and Sasuke and Neji had frightened the poor boy into wails, before it stopped in Tenten's arms. Both former prodigies looked offended and sulked for the rest of the wedding. This was, as Tenten joked, a sign that both of them were not fit for dealing with children.
Hinata had once again, caught the bouquet.
Again, they would be paraded with questions on when their wedding would be. With most of their friends getting married, the next year Neji tried harder. She would come up with an excuse here and there, he didn't understand it, how she made up such useless excuses and she would never tell him the real reason.
She was lying to him.
When they were twenty-two, Tenten got pregnant for the first time. Neji couldn't be happier, but his thoughts plummeted when Tenten said she wasn't keeping it. He hadn't gone to the hospital with her when she did.
They didn't make love for a long time after that and a drift passed by them before it once again slowly mended back.
Through the years, the Rookies, (but that name could not be used anymore, since they all were far beyond Rookies) settled down and started their lives as the older generation. Kiba and Shino had a double wedding, both clan leaders of their respective clans, both with exotic women with a thick beautiful accent. The ANBU estate had been given to another squad since half of the house didn't live there anymore, so Neji and Tenten moved into an apartment close to the town center, Lee to an apartment overlooking the Academy playground and Sasuke back to the Uchiha estate.
Even though the two were living together, it wasn't exactly the way Neji had pictured it, now that his dream had changed slightly, since he wanted desperately to be married to the woman he woke up to seeing every morning, having a beautiful lavender eyed boy and her being Hyuuga Tenten. Wasn't marriage and birth the ultimate way of expressing their love?
He began to get doubts on whether Tenten had loved him, and she merely said she loved him when he had accused her of it. He could not argue any further, but his doubts deepened.
Finally, when they were twenty-six and the rest of their year were twenty-five, Naruto became the youngest ever Hokage. He had carried his son and held his wife's hand as he beamed over at the cheering villages, his life-long dream fulfilled.
Neji had seen silent tears behind Tenten's eyes. She was happy for Naruto for accomplishing his goal, his dream, while hers was yet to be done.
Also in that year, a final stronger bond between the Hyuuga and the Uchiha took place, and Uchiha Sasuke married Hyuuga Hinata, tying the two clans and ending their grudges. It wasn't as if they were necessarily happy with each other at first, but Sasuke had enjoyed the quieter company, and they too, began fulfilling their dreams. Hinata gradually fell in love with the silent man, and Sasuke got a family.
Neji had not been so willing in giving his blessings. Hinata had asked for it and Tenten had coaxed him into it, and he finally dropped the long-held grudge on the Uchiha and allowed him to marry his cousin.
And then the last part of their estate had gone and left them, their friendships in the house had faded into memories.
And Neji and Tenten had become the only couple of the Rookies not married. And the night of Hinata's and Sasuke's wedding, he couldn't take it anymore.
He had looked her straight in the eye, and demanded to know why she refused to marry him, and everyone else was married and he desperately wanted to start a family with her, their family.
She smiled softly, and he leaned over to kiss her hard, trying to convince her in once last attempt. He could feel wetness against her cheeks.
And then she accepted. He had asked why, and he kissed her tears away, and she had simply stated that she wondered if he was going to stay with her after so long, or would he not love her anymore because she didn't want to marry him.
It was a test, he replied, confused. She shook her head, and confessed she was scared that when they were married, if they would fall out of love and he would leave her alone and heartbroken.
She was scared that the gap that had grew between them would be repeated. And she didn't know if she could deal with that.
He had vehemently refused on that ever happening, and she had smiled at him and pulled him in for another kiss.
Notes: Oh wow. That's the end. I'm sorry I ended this so abruptly and cleaned everything up in the last chapter, but I cannot continue this without violently hating this fic, and that's a big no-no. I'd like to thank everyone for finding, for reviewing, for spending time to actually read this.