Disclaimer: Don't own.
Chapter 1- The Bet
That single word rang through the hallways.
Students stopped to stare, even after the bell rang. No one moved; it was like time froze. No one cared they were going to get tardies.
Even those students with no tardies stopped to stare.
Tenten, the best athlete in the school, not to mention one of the most unreachable girls and prettiest, has just turned down the Hyuuga Neji.
Neji stared at her. How could Tenten turn HIM down? He knew he was the heartthrob of the school; why would she turn him down likethat?
Neji quirked an eyebrow, trying to hide his disappointment. After all, he was the Hyuuga Neji. He could get any girl he wanted. Or so he thought. And has been told.
"May I ask why?" he questioned quietly, staring into her eyes, hoping to find the answer.
Tenten smiled prettily. "Sorry Hyuuga-san. I mean, I've heard you're nice, smart, and handsome, of course those are all true," she added hurriedly, when he frowned, "but I'm not the kind of girl that goes out with anyone," she shrugged. "Besides, you'll find someone better than me. After all, the Hyuuga Neji won't give up, will he?"
Neji let out a thin stream of breath slowly, "What if I told you that I'm not interested in any other girl?"
"What, you're interested in a guy?"
A round of snickering went through the crowd of students, but shut up when Neji glared at them. Although being silent didn't kill their curiosity. An update on the love life of Hyuuga Neji, the school heartthrob and prodigy? It was better than figuring out how to be immortal or how to stop time.
Tenten snickered quietly at the look he was giving her.
"Oh come on, I was joking!"
"I've liked you ever since the sixth grade," Neji said with a deadpan expression, ignoring random gasps and the gobsmacked look from Tenten, "That is exactly 5 years now. I will not take a simple 'no' for an answer," he said coolly, turning around, "Think about it, then tell me your answer."
Tenten stared after him as he opened the door to the staircase, and let it slam behind him. She tuned out all other sounds.
The Hyuuga Neji liked her?
For FIVE years?
Shit, the world's ending.
"I don't know! After that he just left!" Tenten cried, throwing her hands up in the air, accidentally slamming her head into the tree trunk behind her. "Ow…"
Sakura frowned thoughtfully. "Tenten… I think he really does like you. I mean, five years is a long time to stick to one person… He's really serious about you."
Ino nodded. "Yeah! You don't know how lucky you are! If it were me, I'd say yes! Damn, that Hyuuga Neji is fiiine."
"Well I'm not you Ino," Tenten rolled her eyes at her blonde friend's immaturity, "I mean, he is smart, nice, I guess, and really hot, but I just can't see myself going out with him. And I'd feel bad if I went out with him because I don't like him back a quarter as much as he likes me if what you guys said was true."
"Well, it's almost summer," Sakura added grinning, "He could be your summer boyfriend."
"I guess…" Tenten said slowly, "But still, I'd feel bad for not liking my boyfriend…"
Sakura and Ino looked at each other. "Tenten, we're not going to force you to say yes. It is your own decision."
"It sounds like it," Tenten grumbled, trying to shove her history book into her bag, "Stupid big book."
"Well… Oh! There's Hinata! HINATA-CHAN!" Ino yelled, standing up and flailing her arms around to attract the female Hyuuga's attention, as well as attracting the looks of some other people as well.
Hinata glanced over and smiled at them, then she glanced back at the person she was with, and waved good-bye to him. She paused then shook her head, then watched him leave and she hurried to her friends.
Tenten squinted her eyes for a better view. He looked awfully familiar… not that many people in the school had that gorgeous physique, dark brown locks, and not that many people could run that quickly from a mob of girls…
"Neji," Tenten muttered under her breath, "I barely know him so why the hell should I say yes to him? It's like having an oompa-loompa randomly pop out and say he's going to offer you a lifetime supply of chocolate if you'd be willing to live with him…"
"Because he doesn't only like you," Hinata said softly when she was within earshot of the other three girls, "He's in love with you."
A lot of people would shrug it off and say there's no difference. But there really is. If it's just a crush, it's a mere infatuation. You like the person for looks, reputation, whatever. But if it's love, it'd be accepting the other for who they are, flaws and all. They can look past the bad qualities and focus on the good ones; they'd want the one they love in their life forever.
"Oh really," Tenten said sarcastically finally fitting her book in her bag, "Why would he love me? He's Hyuuga Neji, for God's sakes!"
Hinata shrugged politely and sat down on the grass next to them, "I'm not sure of his reasons, but I just know he does."
Tenten stood up abruptly, and swung her shoulder bag onto her left shoulder, while holding her Biology textbook in the other, "Right right Hinata-chan, I'll keep that in mind. I'm gonna go home, see you guys tomorrow," she called as she disappeared into the mob of students.
"SHE TURNED YOU DOWN?"
"THAT MUST BE ONE TOUGH CHICK!"
Neji closed his eyes to calm himself as Naruto and Kiba howled with laughter. Killing his friends wouldn't be very smart of him to do, but damn that temptation was hard to resist.
Sasuke smirked in amusement. It was odd to see his rival get turned down. He'd laugh and tease him but then again… he didn't even have the guts to ask out the girl he liked.
"Nice going Hyuuga."
"Let's see you ask out Haruno."
The Uchiha blushed lightly and turned in other way, while Naruto and Kiba howled in laughter again.
"YOU GOT OWNED NEJI! SO OWNED! THAT TENTEN CHICK MUST BE HOT!"
"NEVER THOUGHT I'D SEE THE DAY HYUUGA NEJI WOULD GET TURNED DOWN! THE!"
"Let's see the two of you try to ask out Hinata-sama," Neji interjected coolly, smirking at them, "Can't even gather up to courage to ask her?"
The two hyperactive teens fell into a sulking silence, "…He's right…"
Neji rolled his eyes as he managed to shut his friends up. He took a sip of his water, still contemplating. Was there a specific reason she said no? Did he do something to get her mad at him? Or did she just not know him enough? Hyuuga Neji was a persistent man; he wasn't going to take a 'no' for an answer.
How would he make her say yes? If he just asked her out again she'd obviously say no…
"Man Neji, cut down on the alcohol."
Toss, twirl, catch.
Tenten threw her baton up in the air and repeated her routine. She used to take baton twirling classes but quit a few years back. She wasn't that serious about it; it was more like a stress reliever for her.
"TENTEN-CHAN!" she heard a door slam shut and something crash. Ino.
The mentioned brunette cringed as she resorted to twirling the baton between her fingers, watching Ino hurry to her house, "Dude, I forgot…"
"Homework's in my backpack, in the living room, next to the coffee table."
"Thanks!" Ino grinned and ran into the living room.
Toss, twirl, jump, catch.
What was she going to do about Neji?
"Tenten! I'm so stupid I…"
"History book is on the dining table, next to the candle."
"Thank you!" Sakura grinned and ran towards the dining table, narrowly avoiding chairs and tables.
Twirl, spin, throw, catch.
It'd be mean to just outright reject him again, but she really wasn't attracted to him.
"I don't want to go out with him."
"Tenten you are such a psychic!" Ino declared as she stuffed her now complete homework, copied from Tenten's, into her bag, with Sakura emerging behind her, holding the large textbook. "You know exactly what we wanted!"
Hinata frowned lightly. "Shouldn't you give him a chance? He's not a bad guy. I know he cares for you, and if you went out with him, I'm sure he'd treat you like a queen."
"Hinata, not to be rude or mean, but he's had five years, right?" Tenten asked airily, twirling her baton expertly between slender fingers. "Five years. That's a long time to try to impress me or something, but he just randomly pops up one day and asks me to be his girlfriend."
Hinata sighed. "I suppose… well, tomorrow's the last day of school anyway—"
"YES!" Ino yelled, punching the air with her fist, jumping around happily, "SUMMER IS GOING TO BE…"
"Kurenai-sensei is going to give us a book to read over the summer," Sakura pointed out, "But it won't be long. 300 to 400 pages? 450 max. Not that bad."
"…Are you serious?" Ino was sullen and slouched, dropping down into a chair. "Damn…"
Toss, twirl, jump, catch.
"So what should I do?" Tenten asked, looking at her friends for help. "You guys usually have some kind of a plan."
They looked at each other. "We would say just say yes to him. Honestly Tenten, we can't help you with this. We can't control your love life. You have to make this decision yourself."
"Whatever you do," Hinata smiled soothingly, "Just make sure you're happy."
"Aw, c'mon!" Naruto whined, "Help me get Hinata-chan first! I don't want Kiba to get her! He's smarter than me! He got one less 'D' than me on the last report card!"
"…You want me to use my own cousin. As a tool. In your pathetic rivalry with Inuzuka," Neji said slowly, trying to process this.
"No, of course not! I'm not heartless! I like Hinata-chan too, and I know Kiba does too! I'm sick of him always getting what he wants!"
"Aw!" Naruto whined kiddishly.
"Go ask her out yourself," Neji muttered, "I don't want to be caught in this love triangle."
"My cousin is desired by two completely hyperactive idiots."
"Ne ne, I'll help you get Tenten if you tell me what Hinata likes!" Naruto bounced up and down happily.
"Well, I don't really know."
"She likes astrology and Chinese food. Oh oh, if you're gonna give up…" Naruto paused and looked around before randomly pulling out a flashlight and shining it below his chin, giving him that 'creepy' effect, "She'll never go out with you!"
"So I shouldn't give up?" Neji asked, "That's your advice?"
"Yeah yeah! So, what does Hinata-chan like?"
Neji shrugged, "Hinata-sama likes peaceful things. Zen, gardens, flower tending, origami, et cetera."
Naruto frowned, "Oh… I don't like any of that!"
"Thought so," Neji grumbled, heading towards his house.
"I'll get Hinata-chan to like something loud!" Naruto punched the air victoriously, "I'm a genius!"
"Bye Neji!" Naruto called as he sped off cheering for basically nothing.
Neji readjusted his backpack, one hand holding it, and the other shoved into his pocket, he started to walk home towards the Hyuuga compound. He needed a plan to make Tenten say yes to him. One night to think of a plan…
"Hey," Neji stopped walking and glanced up.
"I heard you wanna know how to get Tenten."
Kiba grinned in that I-have-news-for-you Kiba style, "What the stupid ramen addict said was right, don't give up. If you do, she'll think you're a loser. And don't go all romantic and crap, because then when you become yourself again she won't like you. That's all I have to offer though, I don't know much about love life," Kiba shrugged, leaning against a lamp post. "Anyway," he pushed himself off and headed towards home, "Time for me to be heading home. Hana's probably wondering where the hell I am…"
"Don't you want to know something about Hinata-sama?" Neji called as he watched the Inuzuka head off.
Kiba turned around and grinned goofily again, "Nah, unlike Naruto, I'm going to get her myself. It's not like I need to know anything. If I'm going to get her I'm going to get her myself, without anyone's help. If you need help to get a girl, you're not very manly."
"…Unless… of course… she rejected you…"
"STUPID ALARM CLOCK, SHUT UP!" a fist came flying out from under the covers and made contact with the poor device. It was sent flying, then crashed into the wall and fell to the ground with one last 'ring'.
"God…" Tenten murmured and rolled over, smiling as she sank into the warm haven of her bed. "Summer vacation…"
"…" her eyes shot open. "…Starts tomorrow, SHIT!" she swung her legs over the side of her bed and jumped up, searching through her closet. "Shit shit shit shit shit! I CAN NOT BE LATE!"
Neji sat down at the table, staring at his bowl of cereal. He was satisfied with himself; his prodigy brain had come through. Just as he had planned.
"Good morning Neji-niisan…" Hinata yawned, coming downstairs dressed in a blue tie-dye tank top and beige shorts, "Good morning Hanabi-chan."
"Morning Hinata-neechan," Hanabi grumbled, "Neji-niisan ate the rest of the cereal. Bastard."
Hinata rubbed an eye then caught sight of Neji, who was smirking. "Neji-niisan? Why are you smirking?"
Neji glanced at her, still smirking.
"Oh lord," Hinata moaned, sliding down into the chair across from him. "Neji-niisan… oh God… poor Ten-chan…"
"Hinata-neechan, do I want to know what Neji-niisan is planning on doing?"
"No Hanabi. Forget about this. Do not grow up like Neji-niisan."
Tenten groaned as she literally fell into the seat, panting. It had taken everything she had to run from her house to the school to make it in time. But she wasn't going to let herself get a tardy on the last day of school and tarnish her perfect record.
"Hello Tenten, nice of you to join us."
Tenten looked up and grinned sheepishly, "Sorry Kurenai-sensei, I… NARUTO?"
Naruto grinned, "It's me! Dattebayo!"
"So…. KILL ME IF YOU CAN CATCH ME TENTEN-CHAN!" he yelled as he sprinted off for dear life, breaking through mobs of students.
"UZUMAKI, WHEN YOU GO TO HELL, I'LL MAKE SURE THE SATAN WORKS YOU EXTRA HARD! NOW GET YOUR SORRY ASS BACK HERE!" she roared as she sprinted through the mass of students looking for the blonde.
And so when she turned to find Naruto, she did not and I mean, did not mean to bump into a very muscular chest. It was kind of odd; it wasn't everyday she would bump into Hyuuga Neji.
"…Hi?" she offered, grinning, "Sorry, but I'm in a rush. I'm going to try to kill one of your friends, bye!" she waved cheerfully then sidestepped him, chasing Naruto.
Neji blinked, watching her run off.
I knew Uzumaki would screw this up.
Naruto looked back and his eyes popped out of his head, to see a furious Tenten still chasing him. Dang, did he screw up?
"NARUTO, STAND STILL!"
"YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE TALKING TO NEJI!"
"AFTER I KICK YOUR SORRY ASS TO JUPITER!"
"NO I DON'T WANNA GO TO JUPITER!"
Tenten stopped suddenly, realizing she was dealing with the student who got the lowest score on his midterm. Not to brag, but she was up there… so why not use that brain of hers?
"Hey Naruto!" she stopped running, calling his name, "I'll kick your ass to ramen land if you want!"
Naruto stopped abruptly and bent over, showing his rear end to her, "GREAT! Free trip!"
Tenten grinned, raising her foot. Thank the lord for blessing her with a brain.
Off flew a Naruto screaming, "RAMEN LAND HERE I COME!"
"And that's it! Have a great summer everyone!"
Wow, time flies when you're having fun. Tenten turned around, meeting Neji for the second time that day.
"Neji. Hi!" Tenten greeted him, waving and swung her bag over her shoulder and took her books from Ino who had retrieved her stuff.
"So, uh…" Tenten frowned slightly, clutching her books to her chest, "Listen, I thought about it again, and I really don't want to go out with you. I mean, you are nice and all but—"
Neji smirked, "I don't give up. If you won't say yes, why don't I make you?"
Tenten blinked wondering what he had in mind, "Oh? And how? You can't force me to do anything. What's your plan?"
"A bet," was his answer.
"A bet?" she tilted her head, interested.
"A bet," he nodded, confirming what he said.
"What kind of a bet?" she was genuinely interested, watching him with earnest eyes.
Neji turned around and leaned against the door, switching his Algebra book from one arm to the other casually, "Spend 26 days with me at the Hyuuga summer house. 26 letters, 26 days. One activity each day starting with a letter, in alphabetical order. By the end, I guarantee you will be falling hard for me. Up to the bet?"
"Do you accept it or not?"
Tenten put a hand on her hip and stared at him, "What are the stakes? You do have them right? If not there's no point…"
"If I lose, I'll stop annoying you. If I win, you'll go out with me."
Tenten smirked, "I don't fall in love easily. Are you willing to take the risk of having your heart shredded, possibly patched up, then ripped apart before it's been completely healed?"
Neji smirked arrogantly again, "I'm prepared for anything. Do you accept? Do you dare to accept?"
Tenten's smirk stayed intact and stuck her hand out for a handshake, "You bet."
Neji snickered slightly and shook her head, then he pushed himself off the wall, switched the text book under the other arm again, and adjusted his backpack on his right shoulder again, "I'll pick you up tomorrow."
"I can't wait," she said sarcastically.
One more arrogant smirk, "I bet you can't."