Hope you enjoy it!
Disclaimer: If I owned Naruto, NaruHina would be canon!
Truth be told, Hyuuga Neji falls for Tenten the day she nearly broke his nose.
It's the first day at the Academy, and he is eight years, aloof and icy and bound to his Fate. He walks alone into the bustling courtyard, trying to ignore the squeals of school children and the constant urgings of 'Have a good day!' by concerned parents.
He knows he will never hear that question, and tells himself he doesn't care in the least, because it was his father's Fate to die for Hiashi-sama, just as it will one be his Fate to throw his life away needlessly for the whimpering mass of flesh the world (at least, the only world he knows, which resides behind the walls of the Hyuuga compound) calls Hinata-sama.
He does the same with a cold grimace, and conveniently forgets the whisper to his father on her third birthday.
(Father, she's cute.)
In his heart of hearts, he knows those words still ring true (because Hinata-sama is so small and delicate and pathetic that she has to be cute), but on the surface he can deny the very existence of those thoughts. Because no matter how cute she is, Hinata-sama and her father and her sister and all those in the compound who don't bear a stain upon their brows killed his father and he hates them.
He walks past the hordes of sniveling whiners who beg not to leave their beloved parents, scoffing at their pathetic weakness, stalks around the masses of self-centered little girls, who ogle the cutest face to walk by and whisper and giggle infuriatingly, and marches by the older students, ignoring the shouts of: "How are you?" "I haven't seen you in months!" " You look fantastic! Those weeks in Suna were good to you!" and rests just inside the doorway, just inside the shade, just barely apart from the world of laughter and happiness and light. Just out of reach of those who believed themselves not bound by Fate.
And that's when he hears it.
The muffled, distinct sounds of a scuffle, of feet scraping the dirt and voices laced with mal-intent.
It is so different from the silent, graceful sounds of a Hyuuga fight that he turns, just the slightest, to hear what is going on.
To his surprise, he finds one of the voices to be feminine.
" I will TOO be a ninja!"
The voice is small, unmistakably female and unmistakably furious.
" Girls can't be ninjas!" Another voice, older, beginning to crack, male, mocks. " They have to be kunoichi and play with dolls and arrange flowers and seduce the bad guys into telling them all their secrets!"
" What do you know, you bast-" She is cut off by the rustling of clothes and her own tiny 'oumph' before the sound of a body hitting the ground reaches him. She's been pushed, he realizes.
Neji doesn't like the thought of girls being mistreated. He tells himself that's just what he thinks, but he can't seem to push back the image of a pale, haggard, but still beautiful woman with the stain on her brow, smiling weakly at him when he thinks this.
He decides it's about time to interfere.
" I know a helluva a lot more than you, girlie!" The male voice hisses. Neji hears the girl push herself off the ground, the dirt shifting under her palm as she braces herself on her hands and heaves her body upwards.
" My name is not girlie!" She snarls and for a split second, Neji debates whether or not he really should interfere. The girl sounds quite capable of handling it on her own. The next second he shoves the stupid impulse down and tells himself that a girl, no matter how tough sounding, can't possibly hope to escape her Fate as a weakling. He thinks of Hinata-sama, adorable and weak.
" Don't care what'cha name is, girls can only be kunoichi!" The boy growls at her and Neji seizes the moment to step in.
" No, you're wrong." He states coldly, looking off to the side, to the sky. There are birds flying, he notes, absentmindedly.
" Oh, so you agree with the runt over here, pretty boy?" He is sneered at, but he takes no notice. The boy is beneath him. That is his Fate.
" No." Neji shakes his head and turns to them, his all-seeing eyes closed. " I'm saying that women are not suited to even be in battle. They are better off staying at home with the children and preparing a meal for the men when they come back from fighting."
He nods to himself in his head, congratulating himself mentally on a job well done. There is a stunned silence settling around them, and he takes it as his cue to leave. After all, he's done his duty, told them off, revealing to the over assuming boy and the deluded girl the undeniable truth of the world. Now he can depart, knowing full well that the girl will drop her idiotic notions and resign herself to the Fate that awaits her: A husband, a house, and children.
He turns to go.
" You sexist PIG!!"
The shout is unexpected and he whips back around as the girl's voice echoes out over the courtyard. He sees brown eyes smoldering in rage and then-
A fist connects with the side of his face (she just missed his nose, he realizes dazedly) and he slides back from the force of the blow, slamming into the wall behind him with a dull CRACK. Stunned, he reaches a hand up to his aching cheekbone, and turns his head (it was whipped to the side when she punched him, he realizes) and looks up at his assaulter.
She's his age, with thick brown hair pulled up into twin buns on her head, bangs dangling hazardously into her equally brown eyes. Eyes which are glaring at him with the most loathing and fury he has ever seen. Her face is flushed, stained pink with her insulted womanhood. She is small, unfashionably tanned, with the beginnings of slender muscles showing on her arms. She opens her pink lips and, in a voice more terrible than any Neji has ever heard, proceeds to chew him out in front of a majority of the student body.
" Just WHO do you THINK you ARE?! How DARE you say those things to me!! I've worked hard my WHOLE LIFE just to get here and the LAST thing I need is SOME COOL GUY WANNABE telling me I CAN'T do something!! You are the BIGGEST IDOIT I have EVER MET!!! Girls can SO be ninjas! And you KNOW WHAT?!!? Just to prove you WRONG, I am going to be ONE of the GREATEST fighters this village has EVER SEEN!! And THEN, I'm going to RUB it in YOUR FACE!! Be grateful I didn't BREAK you're NOSE you STUCK-UP, OVERBEARING, SEXIST JERK!!!"
Her chest is heaving and she looks quite spent, but Neji hears none of her furious words because he is too busy taking her in, this tiny goddess, breath-taking and stunning in her fury. She is so unlike the marble woman of the Hyuuga, so different from the stony faces and cold anger he is accustom to that when he finds himself face to face with this heat, this fire, he forgets how to breath and is rendered incapable of doing anything but stare into those burning, rage-filled eyes.
By the time he gets home that day, the left side of his face has turned an ugly, splotchy purple that the Hyuuga healers immediately tend do.
He doesn't take notice.
Because he has decided Fate be damned, he will have that temperamental spitfire as his bride.
Truth be told, Tenten doesn't think of Hyuuga Neji as boyfriend material until an hour before he confesses.
Her first impression of him is not one that will speak of the later admiration she will have for him, or even the part of her heart he will eventually possess.
Her first impression of him is that she is going to kill him.
He insults her, insults every kunoichi who came before her, insults every girl, past and present, who dreams of being a ninja.
So she yanks her arm back and slams her fist as hard as she can into his face, pausing to smirk at his shock before launching into a screaming fit, throwing ever insult her eight-year-old mind can think of at him and promising to become one of the best just to be able to rub it in his smug little face.
It is only after she storms away in a fit that her mind drifts back to his unusual eyes and she realizes she has just hit a Hyuuga, one of the most elite clan of Konoha.
A second later, she decides she doesn't care.
He had it coming!
And for the first year of ninja training, Tenten refuses to speak to Neji, opting to turn away and leave whenever he comes into her general vicinity.
At the start of the second year, Tenten comes early to the training fields, arms loaded with shuriken and kunai and senbon and more pointy projectiles then she can name. (she saved up all summer for them)
As she hits her target for the sixteenth time in a row, a voice freezes her in her tracks.
" You were serious then. About proving me wrong."
Her body seizes up with fury and she spins on her heel to face him, flinging the shuriken in her hand with frightening accuracy for a nine-year-old at his neck. He doesn't flinch, doesn't even blink as it imbeds itself into the wood of the tree behind him, not five millimeters from his jugular. He looks at the weapon with mild amusement.
" You missed me."
" I don't miss."
His eyebrow rises at that, but he says nothing, watching silent as a shadow as she gathers up her toys.
" You're not going to continue?"
" With you here to upset me? No thanks."
She spits the words at him, her eyes dark and her mouth set in a grim line.
They stare at one another for a second, and then he heaves a sigh.
" I'm sorry for what I said last year. It was wrong, and I guess you are going to be a good kunoichi. No one else in our class can handle weapons like you."
She pauses for half and instant, and then continues walking away not even glancing back to see if he's following her. In all honesty, she doesn't care.
Or at least, that's what she tells herself.
But two week later, when they start weapons' practice, she catches him watching her.
A month later, she's showing him exactly how to hold a shuriken, and scolding him for not taking better care of his weapons.
Two days later, he asks her to train with him.
The next day she accepts.
It is a rough beginning, but she finds herself drawn to the aloof, lonely boy. With a patience she doesn't know existed, she worms her way into his world, and finds her own place with him.
He's her trainer partner.
He's her teammate.
He's her best friend.
And it isn't until several weeks after he is beaten to the ground by one Uzumaki Naruto, and they are training in the middle of a rainstorm (her insistence. She'll be damned if she lets any force stop her weapons ever again!) that the thought of a relationship dawns on her.
At first, she scoffs at the notion and tells herself to stop thinking crazy and focus on getting through Neji's Kaiten with her kunai.
But the thought is persistent and sneaks back to the forefront of her mind at several inopportune moments. Neji doesn't seem to notice when she nearly took one of his fingers off with a mis-thrown shuriken, so she indulges the little thought, reasoning that once she's proven how stupid the idea is, it'll go away and she'll be free to hurl sharp projectiles at her best friend in peace.
The idea tumbles around her brain, dragging up images of her and Neji, fingers intertwined, just milling around aimlessly, or Neji looking at her adoringly, or her present Neji with a 'just because' kiss on his cheek, of Neji smiling at her, of her and him tangled up in a passion embrace so tightly that she can't tell where she ends and Neji begins.
Her face burns and she stumbles backwards, her eyes wide and her heart hammering. Neji drops the Kaiten and walks over to her, the briefest look of concern in his eyes. He kneels in front of her and she takes him in, the well-define features, the intense eyes, the sinfully perfect hair, and her heart leaps into her throat.
Because he's got his hand on her shoulder and is yanking her back up to her feet, and she realizes, as she stares into his eyes, that maybe, just maybe the idea isn't so crazy after all.
Then the realization registers and she understands that she has to get out of here before she does something stupid that will ruin a friendship, a partner-ship that has taken too long to build to be destroyed now.
She makes some stupid excuse to leave, (her mind is too hazy with revelation) and turns to sprint back to her house, barely understanding that it is pouring and she is soaked and it will take her hours to dry all her weapons off—
And then, just like that, he's kissing her.
He yanks her back by an arm he's snagged and traps her in a vice-like grip with his arms and whispers some half-unheard confession (" Dear God, you're beautiful.") And then his mouth is on hers, hungry, urgent, desperate. She half leans in because he is warm and the rain around them is cold, and then she leans in the rest of the way because she decides she doesn't give a damn if it is cold, it just feels so good, and warm and nice and so right. Apparently, she's done what she's supposed to, because all of a sudden Neji becomes all rough hands and a probing tongue and an endless whisper of 'I love you. I love you' over and over again on her lips until it feels like hers are doing the same thing, uttering the same confession, over and over again, and maybe she is, because Neji is pressing against her harder, burying his face in her neck and whispering endearments into the hollow of her throat.
She realizes she is whispering ' I love you. I love you.' over and over again into his hair, and then she understands that she is making out with Hyuuga Neji in a public training field, in the rain.
A second later she decides she doesn't care.
Truth be told, Hyuuga Neji falls for Tenten the day she nearly broke his nose
Truth be told, Tenten doesn't think of Hyuuga Neji as boyfriend material until an hour before he confessed.
When they announce their relationship to the Hyuuga, Hyuuga Hinata, in an completely uncharacteristic display, throws her hands up in the air and lets out a sigh-like: "Finally!"
Well I hope liked reading that as much as I liked writing it.