Part 5: Friday
Pairing: Neji/Tenten; minor Naruto/Hinata
Word Count: 2,730
Summary: AU. Tenten finds herself developing a strange relationship with the new guy in Homeroom.
Warnings/Spoilers: None, really. Maybe OOC, but it's not OOC as much as it's just AU, if you get what I mean. The teeniest bit of cursing. POV skips like nobody's business.
Notes: Kyah! I'm actually finishing a series! :D (Although, it's technically not a series, since this was originally intended to be a oneshot. Eheheheh.) Thank you all for everything. :) I'm glad that you all seemed to enjoy my fic. I really appreciate all of your kind and wonderful comments. (hughughug!)
Thanks to: See first chapter, please.
Disclaimer: Unless I fly to Japan, seduce Kishimoto-sama, get him to marry me, and then off him, I doubt Naruto will ever be mine.
Friday was the only day of the week that Kakashi was actually early; an ultimatum given by the principal that he had to obey, unless he wanted to lose his job. Tsunade wasn't known for her patience, and besides, Kakashi needed a job to support his porn habit.
Or so hearsay went, anyway.
The silver-haired teacher was already there, waiting for the class to fill up, when Tenten walked into the classroom fifteen minutes early. She placed the note on Neji's desk as soon as she reached it, and that was where he found it when he slipped into his seat ten minutes later. There was a wry look on his face as he picked up the piece of paper. It held until he read it.
Yesterday, I heard that one Uzumaki Naruto asked one Hyuuga Hinata out on a date.
He scowled, dropped his book bag to the floor, and took out a notebook. As he flipped through, he idly noticed how many pieces of paper had been ripped out. Between Tenten and himself, they had probably killed one good rainforest tree this week.
I'm not gloating; just sharing some info with you.
The wide teasing smile that she gave him rather belied that.
She grinned widely at the sour look that accompanied the two words. Presently, though, she studied him carefully, trying to gauge how irritated or not he actually was. The next note she sent was a bit more serious in content.
Promise me you won't try to do anything to sabotage them.
Tenten spent a few minutes waiting for the reply; she watched the tensing of the muscles in the brunet's back in the meantime as he brooded. When he did pass the note, he did so expressionlessly.
My cousin comes first.
I.e., Naruto makes one wrong move, and he'll find my foot up his ass, Tenten thought wryly, reading between the lines. She sighed, and supposed that that was just about as good as she was going to get it. She shrugged, and decided to take faith, and count on her intuition that told her that he wasn't the type of person to do that sort of thing anyway, no mater how much he disapproved.
"Alright," Kakashi said, standing up, and sliding his hands into his pockets. The class was just about full by now; Tenten put away her thoughts and got prepared to listen. "Let's get started. Yesterday you all read chapter twelve, and got yourself acquainted with two of the greatest yakuza bosses of all time: Masashi Kishimoto of our very own Konoha, and Kubo Tite of Karakura. An argument between the two men – some petty infraction that was lost to time eventually – incited a bitter, bloody feud between the two great clans that lasted centuries.
"In 1876, after more than three hundred years of clashes, battles, and death, the new clan heads thought up of a way to compromise, and bring to the feud to an end. Can anyone tell me what that way was?" The red and black eyes scanned the classroom, looking for a candidate. "Ah, Sasuke. You look bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. Give us an answer."
The dark-haired boy, who looked nothing remotely close to either of those things, glared at his teacher as he deadpanned, "A fight to the death between their two greatest warriors."
"Excellent," said the teacher genially. "Would anyone else care to tell me who those two warriors were?"
Sakura's hand shot into the air. Kakashi nodded at her.
"Uzumaki Arashi and Kurosaki Ichigo."
"Very good. Now, the fight was supposed to-"
Kakashi was abruptly interrupted by a voice on the intercom that was familiar to all; Shizune-san, the office secretary.
"Hatake-san? Tsunade-sama would like to see you in her office right away, please."
"Oooh, somebody's in trouble," Naruto chortled loudly, cupping his hands around his mouth. He looked as though he planned on continuing, but a baleful look from Kakashi quelled him. The teacher turned in the direction of the intercom.
"Thank you, Shizune-san; tell her I won't be a minute." He turned to his class. "Not a peep while I'm gone, brats," he said cheerfully. "Iruka-sensei's class is next door, and you know how he hates to be disturbed."
A harried assent sounded throughout the class, and before long, Kakashi ambled through the door.
Predictably, of course, the class broke into pandemonium two seconds after the teacher disappeared. (Everyone knew that Iruka-sensei didn't have his class there on a Friday. It was that bearded guy, Asuma-sensei, and he was probably out on the balcony sneaking a smoke.) Naruto started to boast about how the great Uzumaki Arashi had shared his clan name, and Sasuke was quick to retort that it wasn't of the slightest significance; Chouji broke out the chips; Ino started pestering Shikamaru to take her to a nice place the next time they went out; Sakura started yelling for everyone to shut their traps. Everyone seemed to being chattering about something or the other; everyone, that is, except Neji, who watched the scene with little interest, and Tenten, who reached for her Post-Its.
Only when the tip of her pen touched the paper did she realise that she didn't know what she was going to write him. She tapped the tip of her pen against her lips and mulled. She'd never before had to think of something to write him.
One glance up at him gave her the perfect topic.
I see you don't yet have a reason to smile.
It took him a bit longer than usual to reply, since he found the Post-It sticking to his fingers. Tenten had a bit of a giggle at his expense. It earned her a dry look.
For how long are you going to bother me about that?
She grinned mischievously.
He didn't look particularly pleased that she had apparently found a subject to tease him on, but took it all in stride, and had another note passing her way in no time. He threw his arm over the back of his chair to hand it to her, and as the slip of paper exchanged hands, the two teens' fingertips brushed.
Tenten came close to embarrassing herself by almost dropping the note in her surprised fumbling. Neji turned away quickly, before the light flush on his face became evident.
It took the brunette some length of time to unfold the note.
I smile when I am given reason to smile.
She was forced to smile as yet again, he proved that moodiness could indeed be expressed through the medium of words.
She went for the obvious reply, and was sure to throw it this time, to avoid contact.
I know. You already said that.
I think it bore saying again.
Tenten rolled her eyes. Before she could pen a reply, someone at the front of the class who'd been on the lookout reported, "He's coming back!"
A hush fell throughout the room, and there wasn't a sound save the mad scrambling of those who had vacated their seats. In less than ten seconds, everyone was seated, lips sealed, and totally absorbed in the open books before them.
Kakashi strolled in.
"You guys are getting better at this," he commented, sitting on the edge of his desk, and reaching across for his book. "This time, I didn't even hear you all rushing for your seats, though that loud, "He's coming back!" rather gave it away." He flipped through the text, looking for his page.
From the class, there was silence, compounded by some very loud glares at the lookout.
"Alright, where were we?" Kakashi continued, seeming to forget the matter completely. "Right, the fight. Now, the textbooks that you all have don't provide a very detailed account of the battle, and that is an important part of the curriculum. So, please copy down this note."
He went to the board, chalk in hand, and the other casually slipped into his pocket.
"You don't need your mouths to write, so be quiet," he warned, not turning to look at them. "Or else we can switch to dictation, and I know how much you all love that."
For some seconds, the quiet scratch of the chalk against the black surface was the only sound in the room. Then, with a collective resignation, pens were picked up, notebooks were opened to clean pages, and everyone began to copy down the lazy scribble that meandered its way across the board.
Tenten printed out the words in her book as they appeared on the board. She didn't really absorb much of it. She never could, really, when copying from the board. She simply duplicated what she saw, and resigned herself to reread it when she went home. Or at least listen when Kakashi was discussing it. At the moment, her mind was elsewhere.
Elsewhere being, admittedly, Neji. She found herself thinking about what he would look like when – if? – he smiled. And what would the reason be, the one that finally got him to smile. And what one might have to do to get him to smile.
She made herself stop after that.
Thinking that she and Neji were done for the day, and also that he would want to get his work done, she was very surprised when she glanced up from her notebook to see a folded note placed in the top corner of her desk, and Neji's pale hand rapidly retreating. She took a quick check to make sure that Kakashi's back was still turned before palming the piece of paper, and unfolding it as quietly as she could in her lap.
Does it ever occur to you that we are rather unorthodox?
Her first thought was that the question was rather out of the blue. The second was that his handwriting looked a little less meticulous than usual. The third was that he was being quite cryptic.
She poked him in the shoulder so he could reach back and get the reply.
Unorthodox? Not at all. Speak for yourself, Pretty Eyes. I'm perfectly normal.
It was a long while before he sent an answer. She didn't even see when he wrote it; he was being very still.
Of course. Which is why you've spent the past week passing notes to a more or less perfect stranger, whom you've not spoken even one word to.
Tenten drew a breath and it remained in the passageway of her throat for a long while. She didn't know what to say to that.
She folded the note very carefully and put it away, while her mind bent on the tangent that Neji had drawn in her head.
…She wouldn't call it unorthodox, because that just seemed to take it a little far. She didn't think that they were strange by a long-shot. But she could surrender to the fact that it wasn't the most normal thing in the world to build a friendship (…felt strange to put a word to it. Friendship… was that what they had?) purely through written words during spare moments in class. They hadn't ever spoken to each other, had they? And had it really been a week?
Well, now that he had mentioned it, there was no way they could continue this… thing without feeling really weird about it. And then there was the point of considering that she apparently liked him (liked him). It would be kinda troublesome to skirt around the issue for the rest of the term, especially since he'd probably find out soon enough. She wasn't the kind of girl who would make it painfully obvious (she'd be the first to put a gun to her head the moment she started doodling his name or giggling when he appeared) but she just had the feeling that he would be able to tell.
To her credit, it seemed like she had something to work with, at least. He wouldn't have been passing notes to her all week if he hadn't thought she was worth talking to. But then again, he also had the cold bastard thing going pretty well; how was she to know whether he'd warm up to her if this thing went verbal?
Tenten told herself that she was thinking too much about it, but that only made her think even more. For the rest of the period, she continued to distractedly copy down the note that her sensei scribbled across the blackboard, while her mind whirred in a whole other dimension.
No more notes passed between the two teenagers.
Neji threw Tenten a few casual glances now and then (though casual might have been a bit of an overstatement, since he had to crane his neck to get a decent look at her, without having to resort to turning full on his seat). She didn't notice him, though, but seemed to be deeply in thought. He watched her chew on her pen, noticed the way her eyes narrowed and her lips twisted in concentration, looked at the clear liquid honey of her eyes when they flicked up and met his by chance.
He felt his heart do the funny thing again. Facing front once again, he wondered what she would do.
It was Neji looking furtively at her that brought Tenten to her final decision. When the bell rang, she waited until the class was almost empty. Then she gathered up her books and her book bag, and took the few steps over to his desk. He looked up at her, nothing but a smidge of expectation on his face. Maybe something more.
"So," she said awkwardly, clearing her voice, and tried not to think about how weird it felt to actually talk to him. Her eyes almost itched with the want to skit all over the place, but she forced them to remain trained on the silver-grey pupils staring up at her. "You want to… get something to eat or something, after school?"
He blinked at her, picked up his stuff, stood, and… there! A tiny smile. Tenten just about punched the air.
"Sure," he said quietly, his tone deep and hollow and pleasant. She grinned, eyes sparkling, and decided that she liked the sound of his voice.
She swore he almost jumped when she grabbed his hand with her own on a wild impulse, but he only raised an eyebrow at her, and let her keep the appendage. This time she really would have slammed her fist into the air, if her other hand hadn't been preoccupied with her books.
They walked down the isle, side by side, the residual awkwardness dissolving in the air surrounding them. Neji's hand felt stiff and a little uneasy, ensconced in Tenten's, but it was warm, and the girl couldn't quite believe that this was the same stoic guy who had walked into the class on Monday, and informed her that he didn't need a chaperone. It was weird, how close she felt to him. She'd never held hands with a boy, not even any of her past boyfriends, but somehow, this felt right. She snuck a look at him, still smiling. Maybe it was possible to build a friendship – a relationship, even – through the passing of notes. She felt his thumb circle one of her knuckles briefly, and shivered a little.
They were nearing the door when they noticed their sensei beckoning to them from where he still stood at his desk. They walked over, while the silver-haired teacher grinned openly at their linked hands.
"Ah, love is in the air, isn't it?" Neji and Tenten stared at him blankly, not quite knowing what to say (Neji tried then to retrieve his hand, but she held on tight). Kakashi continued on before they could think of anything. "How sweet. Allow me to provide you two youngsters with the means for your next few romantic evenings together." Kakashi's smile was obscenely wide as he handed them each a slip of paper. "Detention, four o'clock on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday evening."
"W-what?!" Tenten sputtered, gaping at the note. Neji blinked at it rapidly, equally confused. "What for? We didn't do anything!"
Kakashi gave them a disbelieving look, and scoffed slightly.
"Oh, come come," he said mildly. "You've been passing notes in my class all week. You didn't think I didn't notice, did you?"
Notes: Ahahahaha. :D I was going to let them get off scot-free, but really, this is Kakashi we're talking about. What are the chances that he wouldn't have noticed?
No, humph is not a word, but I used it so many times, along it all possible verbs forms of it, that it should be considered one, instead of just an onomatopoeic sound.
Yes, I made Kishimoto-sensei and KT mobsters in the fic. I do what I want.
Um, okay. This story went through much planning, and drafts and second drafts. I started it sometime in early January (LAST YEAR, ha ha, go me), and finished it in July. There were many things I wanted to do with it, but some of them never really played out. I was contemplating having Gai as their teacher, but I'd already started with Kakashi, and he was turning out to be so much fun. I considered bringing Lee in, maybe as Tenten's best friend, but I didn't feel like doing the rivalry/jealousy thing. The Naruto/Hinata thing wasn't supposed to go that far, as I really don't like the pairing that much, but I just went where the fic told me to go.
All in all, it was kinda fun, as far as AUs go. Like I said, I'm not a fan of Alternate Universe fics (especially high school AUs, oh gaaaaaaawwwwwwwwd) but I had a good time writing this, even though it broke my brain a little, and took me far, far, FAR longer than it should have.
Now, this was originally posted on LJ. It allowed for a lot of things, like different fonts for their handwriting, images used for notes and Post-Its, and it was a lot more creative and nice-looking. If you're interested in taking a look at it, just to see how it was done, copy and paste this link into your browser: sahara-storm . livejournal tag/notes. Just remove the spaces. As usual, all your comments, no matter what they are, are accepted with a smile and much gratitude. I really appreciate it.
Oh, and there just MIGHT be a sequel. Just thought I'd say that. But don't get your hopes up! (wags finger)
Right! And now that this is finally over and done with, please excuse me while I go die. (flops)