Disclaimer - I don't own Naruto or any of its characters.
The Way We Love
Many of their friends and teachers gave them hints.
" So TenTen, you like any guys? (It better not be Sasuke-kun! He's mine!) ... Oh, I see ... So it's him you like, huh? ... Interesting ... Why are you giving me that look?"
" You see, Neji, when a man likes a woman, he begins to have certain desires ..."
Only she could bring light into his darkened soul. Only she could throw colour into his dull world. Only she could kindle warmth to melt his cold heart.
Why does she get tongue-tied whenever she tried to talk to him?
He dreamed of chocolate-coloured eyes, hair buns, rosy cheeks, soft lips, black eyelashes and a beautiful laughter.
It took him a long time before he could confess to her that he really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really liked her.
" You didn't have to come here," Neji told her, covering his mouth from coughing. He tried to put on a brave show in front of her, showing her he wasn't sick.
He failed miserably.
Sharp, relentless steel flashed through the air, straight towards him. If his Kaiten had not been surrounding him, her kunai would have, for sure, found its mark.
When they were still at the Acadamy, Neji would always chose TenTen as his partner, whether it was for fighting or for studying. Mostly because he couldn't stand seeing another boy being her partner.
He could have swore that his jaw dropped when he saw her wearing a mini skirt. A very short one.
The day his hair got all tangled and knotted in a battle, was the day TenTen helped him comb his hair.
There were so many girls that screamed " Neji-kun! Go out with me!!!!" Neji was very happy that TenTen wasn't one of those annoying girls.
Some idiot (TenTen wasn't going to mention any names) just so happened to place a mistletoe above the door when both she and Neji walked through it.
All that was needed, was one smile from him in order to reduce TenTen to a blubbering, blushing mess on the ground.
Once, Neji barged in on TenTen while she was bathing, after hearing her scream. It turns out it was only a squirrel that had frightened her. But it did take about ten minutes before Neji could stop staring and for TenTen to grab a tower to cover herself.
" So when are we going to have grandchildren from you and your 'secret' boyfriend?" TenTen's father asked, causing TenTen to choke on the tea she was drinking.
Many wondered why Neji chose her when there were hundreds of better looking girls than her. Many wondered why TenTen fell in love with a cold-hearted, ruthless man.
In the end, they just didn't understand.
He was the most impulsive person she had ever met. Which was part of the reason why she fell in love with him.
Neji was quite self-conscious about his curse mark, as it reminded him of 'a bird in cage'. He got even more self-conscious about it when TenTen first kissed him right on the forehead where the mark was.
" He and I are like the sky and sea," TenTen tried to explain with difficulty. " He is the sky. I am the sea. No matter how hard the sea tries, it cannot reach the sky."
" Since when has that ever stopped anyone from being in love?" her mother pointed out.
Every morning they would meet early in the morning to train and leave late at night. Nobody knew that they trained only to be near each other.
The little things she does for him means a lot to him. Such as handing him a bottle of water, giving him a smile after a long day's work, making peace between him and Lee, wiping his milk moustache away and bandaging his wounds after a fight.
" Is it true that you and TenTen are going out?"
" You actually believe in those rumours?" Neji snorted.
One time, she gave him a whole bunch of clocks just to let him know that there was still time.
She always thought he was too good for her. Hyuuga Neji was, after all, a noble, unlike her. He didn't have to sink so low as to be with her. However, he found ways to convince her otherwise.
It amazed Neji that her hands, always gentle and delicate, were always deadly in battle.
They somehow found ways to use an excuse for them to share the same room (or bed) when they went out for missions.
" I don't mind sharing the room with Neji. At least he doesn't snore, sensei."
" I am not sharing the same bed with Lee."
It began with a glance and evolved into something more beautiful than life itself.
When Rock Lee was drunk and causing a total disaster at the resturant, he nearly kissed TenTen. And he would have, if Neji wasn't there to knock him out just in time.
" Why?" she whispered.
" Because I love you," Neji replied.
Her first reaction when she saw a spider, was to grab Neji's hand.
For TenTen, her world nearly ended when he threw himself in front of her to protect her from the incoming shurikens.
Since he was used to seeing her with her hair in buns, Neji was completely caught off guard when he saw TenTen with her hair down. He was so stunned that he was unable to compliment how pretty she looked.
" There is nothing between Neji and me," TenTen assured. " We are just friends."
" Then you won't get jealous if I told you Neji was hanging around Sakura a lot more than usual?"
Her eyes always teased him mercilessly and he found that he liked being teased by her.
On her birthday, Neji gave her two pink ribbons. Funny how she would wear those two pink ribbons in her hair everyday.
They were identical twins, two pairs of a whole, as the stars need the darkness, like the birds need water to survive. They were also polar opposites, ying and yang, fire and water, the sun and the moon.
But they were utterly inseparable.
When Hyuuga Hiashi suspected that his nephew was seeing a certain kunoichi, he pretended to be oblivious.
Even though he always insisted that he was fine, TenTen could see through his lies.
It was now or never. A part of her mind hissed that she was taking unfair advantage of him, as he was unconscious. Another part reasoned that if Gai-sensei or Lee ever finds out, they would never let her escape the humiliation of it. The majority of her mind screamed in bliss as her lips brushed against his.
On Valentine's Day, he handed her a bouquet of flowers and upon seeing her delighted face, was so embarrassed that he ran away before she could thank him.
He made it known to other guys that she was his and his alone.
They simply need to glance at each other in order to communicate.
He was her Romeo, whispering sweet words of love to her when she was up in her balcony (actually it was her bedroom window). She only hoped that he would not end up like the real Romeo.
When Neji went to the training grounds, he found her sleeping against one of the wooden poles. When TenTen woke up in the training grounds, she found him sleeping against her shoulder.
Neji never thought of TenTen as someone weak. In fact, she was far from it.
During the night they were supposed to find a certain missing nin, TenTen was shivering from the cold. Neji acted as a gentleman, took off his jacket and gave it to her, even though he was already cold with his jacket on.
TenTen never believed that Prince Charming would come to sweep her off her feet and take her away to live in his magnificant mansion.
She believed that Neji would.
She was everything that was needed to fulfill him.
After Gai-sensei's 'lesson' on love, TenTen joked around, saying, " Wouldn't it be funny if we kissed?"
Neji couldn't answer as his mouth was a bit occupied with hers.
It took Neji approximately thirteen years, seven months, twenty-eight days, four hours and thirty-three minutes before he could finally admit that he would like for her to go out on a date with him.
It took TenTen approximately fifteen years, two months, twelve days, one hour and fifty-nine minutes before she could finally say that he has captured her body, mind and soul.
It took approximately a google of glances, infinite smiles, everlasting kisses, unfathomable promises, endless hugs, never-ending farewells and a zillion of reunions before they could finally get married.
But it took approximately two " I love you"s before they could realize how much they truly need the other to survive. After all, there was no approximate number for the amount of love they have for one another.