By Kikoru Sijan
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or any of the characters in it. I merely control their world on FF.
Dedicated to: Quiet Moon-chan, a very loverly person that I met here! Thank you so much for supporting me, and I really thank you for helping me with FOTT! Hope you like how I arranged your idea, I really tried! I don't usually write drama, mostly humor or angst if I feel like it, but I'm giving this a shot! Love ya! :D (Wow, that contained a lot of exclamation points. xD
Tenten shivered slightly as the winter wind blew. She clutched her rather longer sleeved, white Chinese-styled shirt.
'I'm so glad that I changed out of that old, pink shirt. That would've made me so cold.' Tenten was now nineteen, along with her two teammates Neji and Lee.
And what was she doing on this particularly freezing cold winter day, might you ask?
She was waiting for her unusually late sparring partner, who happened to be Neji. They started sparring a little after he recovered from trying to get Sasuke back, which was, a mission failed. At least that time.
But Neji never did get to bring the Uchiha prodigy back, because team seven did. Now, it was a pretty successful team that Neji seemed to envy.
If I wasn't enough for the team that time, I'll just have to train to get better for next time. Those were the words that he said the very day he got out from the hospital. She often wondered why he didn't spar as much with Lee, who was by far a tougher opponent. So, their sparring sessions began. Right at the crack of dawn.
In spring and summer, it wasn't that bad. The morning air was nice and soothing compared to the humid and hot weather.
Autumn wind always brought a sweet scent with it, and it made sparring a lot more interesting, with the leaves blowing around as a distraction.
Winter. Tenten dreaded this season, because the coldness of the air would make her face numb as it rushed past her. However, the Hyuuga never seemed affected by it—he always used this as his advantage.
Tenten began to rub her hands together for more warmth. God, it was cold.
'Where could that Neji be?!' she thought rather angrily. 'He left me out here to freeze today? He's never late…maybe he's stopped thinking as Gai's pupil but as Kakashi's.' She laughed lightly at the small joke she made in her head. Was she going insane? Neji would never follow a pervert like him.
But then again, Sasuke, who was very much like Neji, was stuck as his pupil and actually made it through. Who knows?
"Tenten," she heard a voice say lowly. She looked up at the frowning Neji. "I apologize for making you wait."
"Nah," she said, stretching a little. "You weren't too late. What happened?"
"It's none of your concern," Neji snapped a little too icily for Tenten's liking. He never snapped at her like that.
Tenten frowned. Just when she thought he was getting a little closer to her after seven years of seeing each other every morning (excluding separate missions they were given).
"Let's start then," Tenten mumbled half-heartedly, getting into a fighting stance.
Neji quickly got into his gentle fist stance, activating his byakugan almost immediately. Tenten jumped upwards and threw several miscellaneous items at the long-haired man, making sure to flee when he began to spin and emit a blue chakra force field around himself, reflecting all the weapons. She quickly threw a new batch almost immediately after he finished his technique.
He was somewhat alert, and managed to deflect many of the various weapons, with only a few wounding him. Tenten kept throwing at him, only to appear very close to him in seconds. He reacted quickly and started to seal her chakra points.
The fatal mistake that he made was to touch very close to her heart. Tenten immediately coughed out blood. It seemed like Neji was taking his anger out on her. She continued to cough as their sparring match ended, with Neji being the rather obvious winner.
But why had he choose to hurt her like that? There was no denying that he did it once before—he at least apologized and took her to the hospital even when she didn't need to go. However, this time, he just turned away and began to walk out of the training grounds.
"Annoying weakling," he hissed before he left. Tenten's eyes began to water slightly, causing her eyes to sting from the cold that the wind added. She quickly wiped her tears with her sleeve, watching as the water sunk into the silk. She got up and began to have a coughing fit once again.
And then she remembered how he walked away, not caring that she was hurt severely. He may even have damaged an internal organ—the most important to be exact: the heart. Why was he being so cruel today?
She stumbled over to the hospital, asking the secretary if she knew where Sakura was when she reached the front desk. She covered her mouth so no blood would show.
"Haruno-san went out for her lunch break," the smiling lady replied. Tenten gave a small nod of thanks before rushing to Ichiraku's. That was the effect of being so close to Naruto all those years.
Inside, she found the original team seven sitting there, eating ramen, of course. Kakashi was informing Sakura of his last mission, to where she nodded every so often between bites.
Suddenly, Tenten began to spit blood again, gaining everyone's attention. Sakura's eyes widened at the sight of the red stain on the floor and Tenten's white shirt. Sakura kneeled downwards to check on Tenten.
"Tenten," Sakura called. "What happened? Is your heart tissue damaged?" Tenten gave a quick nod before coughing again. Sakura began to take deep breaths, trying to calm herself down. She could do this—if she managed to heal Kakashi, Naruto, and Sasuke right after their big fight with the little chakra she had, she could deal with this.
She instructed Tenten to roll over, and helped her friend position herself as comfortably as possible. Everyone watched closely as a green glow began to come from Sakura's hands. She quickly pressed them against Tenten's chest, beginning to repair the heart tissue.
When the long and hard job was done, Sakura quickly wiped some sweat off her forehead. "What happened, Tenten?" Sakura asked as she helped her friend up. The reaction she got was unexpected—Tenten began to break down in tears.
Now, Tenten was a tough person. If something made her break down like this…well, it had to be pretty bad.
"Tenten, Tenten," Sakura said in a soothing voice, hugging her friend. "What's wrong?"
"Well," Tenten said between muffled sobs, "I was waiting for Neji as always—you know how we spar all the time...He came late and we began to spar...h-he did this to me!" Sakura's eyes widened. Neji did that to Tenten? Never, unbelievable, impossible, ridic—
Wait, it was possible. Sakura quickly turned to face Sasuke, who just raised an eyebrow in question.
"Might you know what Neji's thinking? I mean, you used to be like that," Sakura said. Sasuke scowled but did keep this in mind.
"Tenten," he said, calling the girl's attention. "Was he ill-tempered when he came?"
"Did he try to be...secretive?" he asked. "...As in about his situation."
"...Yes. He said it wasn't my business, in short," Tenten replied, already calming down.
"And then he took his anger out on you, am I correct?" Sasuke concluded. Tenten nodded, almost crying again. "Family problems."
"…Huh?" Tenten, Sakura, and Naruto exclaimed. Sasuke sighed heavily.
"Something's going on in the Hyuuga family," Sasuke explained. "…I'm guessing about the branch and main family again. It's quite a…sensitive topic for him."
Tenten nodded. "But he won't let me help him! I tried to talk to him today!" she exclaimed. Sasuke shrugged.
"Ne, maybe you can talk to Hinata-chan!" Naruto exclaimed. "She'll probably know! I mean, she's in the Hyuuga family, too…but not for long." The last bit was mumbled, and nobody heard it, except maybe Kakashi, who just secretly grinned.
"But she's in the main house," Sasuke pointed out. "If this is just something to do with the branch house, she won't know…but you can give it a shot. She's pretty sympathetic."
"Yes, yes. Naruto really isn't empty headed," Kakashi remarked, his eye crinkling. Tenten smiled slightly.
"Thanks for the help guys. Would you know where she is?" she asked before leaving.
"Oh, she's visiting Hiashi-sama in the hospital. He was a bit scratched up when he came back from his solo mission," Sakura said. Tenten nodded firmly and rushed away, waving a quick good-bye.
"Hinata!" Tenten exclaimed as she saw the Hyuuga heiress walk out of the hospital building, surprise evident on her face. She smiled uneasily.
"Hello, Tenten-chan," she greeted, long over her stuttering phase. "I just finished visiting my father. Is there something you need?"
Tenten nodded eagerly as they began to walk. "Do you happen to know why Neji is…in a bad mood today?" she asked. Hinata immediately stiffened and stopped walking.
"It's the clan's business," she said rather icily. "It'd be better if you didn't know."
"But," Tenten exclaimed, beginning to sob slightly, "Hinata, I have to know! Neji nearly killed me this morning because of whatever's going on!" Hinata's eyes widened.
"He nearly killed you?" she said with surprise. "How?"
"He…he struck me near the heart," she said, glancing at the floor. Hinata's eyes softened, but they were filled with anger as well.
"I…suppose I should tell you then," she said. "Perhaps we should take a seat." They entered one of Konoha's tea shops and seated themselves so Hinata could begin her story.
"Well," she said, sipping a bit of tea, "I was discussing this with my father this morning, actually. He hasn't been with the clan for a while, since he was on that mission. Anyway, Naruto-kun…proposed to me."
Tenten gasped. "Really?!" Hinata blushed slightly and nodded. "Continue."
"So, we needed a new heir or heiress, since I would no longer be part of the clan after I am married. Hanabi declined when the elders asked her to. Therefore, I picked Neji-niisan to fill my seat," Hinata explained.
"But that was what caused all the trouble. You know about the…feud that the branch and main house has, right?" Tenten nodded. "Well, that was it. The elders from the main house simply did not accept this, though Neji is an excellent shinobi, obviously better than myself.
"However, the elders could not go against my decision—even though I am engaged to Naruto-kun, I still hold the Hyuuga name right now, therefore still am heiress. At first, both Neji-niisan and I thought that everything was set, I just needed my father's permission, which he just granted while I was visiting him.
"But everything became twisted when the main house elders decided that, yes, Neji-niisan could be the heir, but when he becomes the head, they are allowed to use him. If he does not obey, they will make him suffer using the cursed seal on his forehead, the one that all branch members have," here, Hinata clenched her fists tightly, so tightly that her knuckles turned white.
"Of course, Neji-niisan went against them. He said there would be no point. Now, the elders are trying to ruin my marriage! Neji...he'd never let this go. Naruto-kun was the one that taught him fate could be changed, and I believe he's right. And Neji-niisan did, too!
"So, he's angry because the main house elders just won't let this go. They're letting 'fate' get in the way, thinking that Neji will never be able to become the head, just because he's a branch family member," Hinata concluded.
Tenten took all the information into her head. "That…that isn't fair at all!" she exclaimed, standing up. "I understand that the main house doesn't want this, but they can't control his life!" Hinata nodded firmly.
"Tenten-chan," Hinata said, her gaze landing on the hot tea in her hands. "Please...go help him."
Tenten sighed and nodded, getting up from her seat. "Hinata...I'll try."
Tenten found Neji in the training grounds, punching a dummy.
'Not too surprising,' she thought as she neared the long-haired boy.
"Hey," she said rather uneasily. Neji turned at the sound of her voice, momentarily glaring at her before turning back to the dummy.
"What do you want?" he snapped.
"Well," Tenten started, rubbing her arm nervously, "I...know what happened in the Hyuuga household."
Neji stopped hitting the dummy and turned to listen. "I don't need you to do anything," he said after she paused.
"I don't need your approval—I can do whatever I want," Tenten stated. "But...I need you to accept—accept the fact that I'm going to help you, no matter what. You can kill me to take all your anger out, I honestly don't care." Tenten sighed.
"I guess I'm just saying," she continued, "that I'll do anything for you Neji. Anything. Do you…do you accept my help?"
There was a long and awkward silence until Neji finally spoke up after sighing deeply. "I accept your help. What are we going to do?"
Tenten grinned mischievously. "I've got the perfect plan. Just follow me into the village."
Sasuke stepped into the main Hyuuga household, asking one of the servants for one of the elders to come into the Hyuuga private training ground.
'Why am I doing this again? I'm helping HYUUGA. How did Sakura drag me into this?'
"Uchiha-san, he'll be going very soon," the servant said. "I'll lead you to the training grounds."
Sasuke waited until he saw a man, not very wrinkly, but you could tell he was old.
"What do you need, Uchiha-san?" he asked in a raspy voice before narrowing his eyes. "We never usually let Uchiha family members in here...especially if they're a traitor."
Sasuke raised an eyebrow. 'They're still hung up on that? Even if I killed the guy?'
"This is...concerning matters of the next Hyuuga heir," Sasuke said. "If you do not choose an acceptable one that the current heiress approves of, it is said that the Hyuuga clan will go to me, the Uchiha heir. I suppose you remember this contract that our clans have signed many years ago."
The elder scowled. How did such a young person figure this out? "I merely looked through the Uchiha records." The elder almost jumped. This boy could even read minds. "I'm sure you wouldn't want this to happen. I do remember that the policy of the Hyuuga clan is that the head can rule freely, as well."
"But you have no children!" the elder argued. "You are the only living Uchiha! Your brother is dead! We'll be back at the beginning if you die! This is im—"
"Are you forgetting," Sasuke said with a smirk, "that I have a fiancée?" The elder froze and cursed under his breath.
"This conversation is closed," the elder said. "Please leave, Uchiha-san. I will discuss matters with Hyuuga Hinata and Hyuuga Neji."
"That was wonderful!" Sakura exclaimed as she hugged Sasuke, who was trying to get out of her grasp.
"Yes, that was, Uchiha," Neji said. "We should be getting back now, Hinata-san." Hinata nodded.
"Good luck!" Tenten exclaimed.
"Thank you...Tenten," Neji said before he left. He pulled her into a surprising and short kiss.
"Wha?!" Tenten exclaimed as he left, her face red. Sakura was giggling madly while her fiancé stared at her like she was crazy.
"Sakura," Sasuke said. "Calm down…" Sakura began to take deep breathes, but Tenten was still caught up and confused.
'H-he…k-ki-kissed me!!!' she screamed in her mind.
Hyuuga Neji was now the next heir, once the Uzumaki wedding took place. The elders grudgingly made Neji's seal inactive while the branch house celebrated at this.
So, we return to Tenten and Neji's daily sparring.
"Tenten," Neji said as he deflected the kunai she was throwing. He gulped uncharacteristically. "I need to choose a wife..."
Tenten stopped throwing weapons, shocked at the subject. "So..." Neji said uneasily. "Will you marry me?" His face was very red now. Tenten stared at him in awe before laughing and embracing him tightly.
"I accept your offer!" she exclaimed as they fell on the grass, laughing.
A/N: Quiet Moon, I hope this is good enough for you! Sorry it took so long! I hope you like it and I hope it was dramatic enough. Gah, this was extremely hard to write. Sorry if I went too off your original idea. --' I hope everyone else that read this enjoyed it!