Author's Notes: I'm suicidal. I'm already writing MH and I go and start a new fanfic. --; Well, because I'm focused on MH, I won't have a lot of time for this one, but I'll try to update both equally. It'll be hard on me though since I'm a naturally lazy person. I'm kind of like Shikamaru actually, so please excuse me if it takes a long ass time to update. You'll notice that a lot of my fics haven't seen updates in a while but they're not dead either. So, this might be one of those fics sometime in the future. You never know.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto and any of this series' characters.
Bridal Deception – Chapter 01
Written by Clow Angel
Hyuuga Neji was a strong, silent, and aloof man. He was a perfect example of a Konoha shinobi. However, now we find him sighing dejectedly and almost unnoticeably in a decidedly uncharacteristic manner. It baffled everyone in the vicinity; everyone being TenTen.
TenTen frowned minutely at her ex-team mate's dejected state. It just wasn't normal. What was even worse was that Neji didn't seem to realize he was doing it. Another small sigh escaped the dark-haired male, and TenTen couldn't take it anymore. "What is wrong?!" she all but screamed, jumping up from her seat. Her raised voice attracted quite a few stares from everyone in the restaurant. They were taking a break from missions for a while and had decided to hang out for a bit at a local family restaurant.
Neji straightened and stared at his lone female ex-team mate with confusion as if his previous depressed state hadn't existed. "What are you talking about, TenTen?" he asked with a perfectly controlled voice.
If she had not seen his posture and expression, TenTen would have been spectacularly fooled. Really, the man should take up acting or something. "You've been sighing non-stop for the past few minutes we've been here, Neji!"
Neji blinked. Had he really? He hadn't even noticed. Damn it, he was slipping. "There was something on my mind," he explained. Hiashi-sama had asked for his presence this afternoon. From the older man's tone of voice the other day, it didn't look to be good news. How did he know? His uncle had sounded 'happy'. His uncle never sounded happy. Ever. Undoubtedly, his uncle was very kind to him now, but in all his life, he had never heard of his uncle sound so happy. Damn, he hated repeating himself. The day will probably turn into a rather bad one. It was a gut feeling and his gut feelings were never wrong.
TenTen sat back down and quirked a single narrow brow. "Oh."
"Can you tell me?" TenTen inquired curiously.
He shook his head. A few strands of ebony hair fell loose from behind his hitai-ate and he casually swept it back behind his shoulder. He had taken to leaving his hair untied when he didn't have missions. He didn't know why but one day, he suddenly decided it felt more natural for his hair to be let free.
TenTen admired her friend for a moment, lost in his long dark tresses, light silver eyes, high cheekbones, pale skin, and strong and angular jaw line. He was too beautiful. Looks aside, his voice was amazing; deep and sensual. It was the perfect bed voice. It was amazing he didn't have a girlfriend yet. Once upon a time, she was chasing after him, but he was just too out of reach for her. She groaned. Why was she even thinking about this?
A single eyebrow rose as Neji watched TenTen make faces all the while staring at him as if in a trance. "TenTen?"
"Huh?" She blinked. "Oh." She rested her chin on an open palm, staring intently at Neji.
Neji frowned. "What?" He was starting to get annoyed.
"Why don't you have a girlfriend yet?"
All traces of emotion were wiped from his expression. He stared back, slightly dumbfounded about the sudden question and intrusion into his private affairs. He didn't know what he could say either, so he didn't reply.
"You're attractive, beautiful in fact—"
Neji twitched. "Excuse me?"
"Right, sorry for offending your manliness," TenTen said sarcastically.
He opted for throwing a light glare in her direction.
"No seriously. You need to find a girl and get laid. You're building up so much stress. Not to mention, lately you've been training yourself into the ground."
"I do not need a woman to relieve stress."
"But it's not healthy with just your right hand either," she countered playfully.
"TenTen. We're in a restaurant," he reminded coldly. If he didn't have perfect control over his emotions and expressions, he would've blushed like a school girl. He didn't expect such a conversation to surface during a meal.
TenTen blushed. "Right, sorry."
The arrival of their food stalled the potentially embarrassing conversation. Unfortunately for Neji, he couldn't escape the conversation because after they left the restaurant, TenTen went right back at it.
"I'm not interested in bedding women for stress relief," he said firmly. In fact, he wasn't too keen on bedding women at all.
"Well, aside from the sex, you need a partner to carry half your burdens," said TenTen. "It's unnatural for an attractive person like you to go single for so long."
What seriously brought this on, wondered Neji. He was certain they only agreed to eat together with their old Team Gai, but Lee couldn't make it due to a date with Sakura. So he was stuck with just TenTen, but that gave her no excuse to intrude into his love life. Not that he really had one, but still.
"They may carry half my burdens but I'll end up carrying half theirs as well, won't I? So why bother?" Neji retorted. "I also don't need an annoying female hanging off my arm."
"Oh fine," huffed TenTen. "Well, I'll see you around."
"It's just as well. Hiashi-sama requested my presence this afternoon." Neji nodded once and disappeared in a puff of smoke.
TenTen stared and blinked at the spot where her friend was just seconds ago. She shrugged and continued on her way home thinking of their conversation.
After taking an afternoon walk around the Main House gardens, he appeared before his uncle as requested. What he heard made his world fall around him.
"Pardon, Hiashi-sama?" he asked in a strained voice. He was right. His day had taken a turn for the worst. What kind of sick twisted joke was this?
Hiashi nodded, smiling proudly. It looked so out of place. "That's right. I am offering my eldest daughter to you."
"Did Hinata-sama agree to this?" Neji asked, hoping he didn't sound as choked up as he felt.
"She will be ecstatic to hear of the news. I have observed you interacting with my daughter. She seems content in your presence. You have also been a good influence upon her Shinobi career. Therefore, I can safely entrust her to you."
"Unless you have objections?" the older man interrupted. "Is Hinata not good enough for you?" Hiashi's voice took on an offended tone.
"No, of course not," Neji said hastily. "However…" He struggled to think of a plausible excuse to get out of this predicament. He had no problems with Hinata as a person, but she certainly wasn't someone he viewed as a potential wife. Even worse, they were related. He was never too keen on incest. In fact, he couldn't imagine himself married to a woman. Did that mean something, he wondered.
"However?" his uncle prompted.
"I apologize, Hiashi-sama, but I cannot accept Hinata-sama's hand in marriage because," Neji then remembered TenTen and his conversation earlier that day. "I'm already attached," he continued in what he hoped was a convincing tone.
Hiashi's eyebrows shot up to his hairline. He had not heard of this before. He had observed his nephew every day for the past few years and did not so much as see a potential girlfriend around him.
Using his uncle's shocked state to his advantage; Neji quickly exited the room before the older man could recover. He quickly left the Hyuuga compound and found his way to the outskirts of Konoha where a sparkling blue lake practically glowed under the setting sun.
Okay, he needed a plan. Hell, he needed a girlfriend! A fake one! The problem was he wasn't attracted to any females at the moment. Or ever. Did that mean he was attracted to men? Neji frowned.
Wait, back up, he told himself. First, he needed to go over the girls in his head. There was Ino who was strong indeed but so fragile, like the flowers she loved. Sakura was just strange. She was pretty in a wild sense, but too violent for his tastes. She was also emotionally fragile. He briefly wondered why Lee was so infatuated with the young woman. Maybe it was the wild beauty thing. Then there was TenTen. He saw her as a younger sister. Granted, if he didn't, she would be the one he'd choose for a wife if given a choice. She was strong both emotionally and as a shinobi if her being ANBU had anything to go by. Still, women were too fragile. He groaned and sat down on the grassy hillside that overlooked the sparkling lake.
Well, if women weren't his thing then perhaps men? He frowned. He'd never actually thought about these things so extensively. He entertained the thought of him being asexual but quickly tossed that aside. Even he didn't find the thought of being single forever appealing. So quite frustrated, Hyuuga Neji mentally went over the men he knew.
Inuzuka Kiba. Too much like a barbarian and had no class. Not the least bit attractive.
Nara Shikamaru. Aside from the laziness, he was one of the few people Neji actually respected. His brain was always topnotch. Not a bad physique either. Actually, Shikamaru was pretty good looking now that he thought about it. Not pale, but not dark, with dark hair. As years passed by, the lazy man had grown considerably taller and had really shaped up.
Aburame Shino. Too Weird.
He sighed and fell back against the grass, staring up at the darkening sky. Suddenly his vision was filled with blonde and blue. He blinked. Naruto?
"Naruto?" He blinked again.
"Heya Neji! What're you doing here? I don't normally see you in this area at this time," Naruto said offhandedly and took a seat by the silent Hyuuga.
Neji sat up and took a good look at his friend. He was decked out in full ANBU gear. The only thing not in place was the mask which Naruto held in his hand. He had probably just returned from a mission and didn't feel like reporting back to Hokage-sama yet. Neji took a good long look at his long time friend and found he liked what he saw. Naruto had grown up. A lot. He was easily one of the tallest of their generation now, an impressive feat for someone who was so short in their younger years. His hair was as untamable as always, sticking up every which way, but it gave him a wild, rugged look that suited him perfectly. He had also filled out nicely, gaining muscles in all the right places. His once large blue eyes were narrower now, but the sparkling blue depths were even brighter now. The three scars across each cheek gave him a very feline look. His face had completely lost all the baby fat too. All in all, Uzumaki Naruto was drop dead gorgeous.
Suddenly, Neji felt uncomfortably hot. Oh shit, he was into men. Neji fell onto the grass again and sighed long and loud. It figures he'd figure out his preferences now.
Naruto noticed the 'glare' his friend sent his way and shifted uncomfortably. When Neji finally collapsed onto the ground, it was his turn to stare. What had gotten into his friend?
Naruto frowned. "What's wrong? You're never sighing and lazing about under the sunset."
Neji glared at Naruto's obvious attempt at lightening the mood. "I appreciate you trying to help, but it won't work unless you can find me a fake partner."
"What?" Naruto was confused. "A fake partner? As in…" It couldn't be!
"Yes," Neji confirmed.
"I can do it if you're that desperate," Naruto said jokingly.
"Really?" Neji asked hopefully, sitting up and staring intently at his friend.
"Uh—" Naruto blinked, very uncomfortable. Those piercing silver eyes that felt as if they could see right through him didn't help either. He conveniently forgot that the Hyuuga Bloodline Limit did allow them to see through him. "I didn't know you were into men," Naruto said lamely.
"I didn't either until just now," said Neji, every bit serious.
"What? How do you not know that stuff?" asked Naruto, baffled. Most people discovered what their sexual preferences were early in their teens.
"I have never had the time to think about such matters." Neji's stare intensified, looking straight into Naruto's eyes.
"I need your help, Naruto. Unless you're not into men…" Neji trailed off uncertainly.
He felt bad all of a sudden. His friend obviously needed this done for a reason. He couldn't see Neji pulling pranks on anyone; especially not such a serious one. "Well, even if I wasn't into men, I'd still help you out. You're a friend of mine, ya know," said Naruto, smiling reassuringly. "Plus, I swing both ways." Naruto winked.
Neji's cheeks were suddenly feeling kind of hot.
"Aww… Neji-chan is blushing!" Naruto squealed in an uncharacteristic attempt at being girly.
Neji raised a hand and smacked the blonde across the head.
"Hey!" Naruto exclaimed indignantly. "How dare you treat your boyfriend so violently!"
Neji couldn't help it. He laughed long and hard.
Naruto smiled. Good, his friend was feeling better. Truthfully, he had been scared shitless to see Neji behaving so strangely. It just wasn't right; as if the world was out of balance.
A little while later, when the sky turned dark and the stars came out to play, Neji filled Naruto in about the entire situation.
"So you're telling me Hinata-chan has no idea she was being engaged to you?"
Neji confirmed it with a grunt.
Naruto sighed. "That's messed up although he probably meant well."
"Yes. I imagine Hinata-sama would be most displeased about the news. She is going steady with Inuzuka after all."
"Yeah, Kiba would be howlin' at the moon for months if your uncle got his way." He threw a playful smirk at Neji. "So, did you tell your uncle you're gay?"
Neji's pale cheeks gained some color at the word. He still wasn't used to the idea of it. "No. I left in my panicked state when he was in shock." Actually, he hadn't realized he was gay when he was speaking with his uncle.
"Oh man…" Naruto face palmed. "Let's talk about this at my place. It's getting chilly out." To make his point, Naruto rubbed his arms and stood up.
"Don't you need to report to Hokage-sama?"
"Meh, she can wait. It's not the first time I've done this."
Neji shook his head. Naruto was so… Naruto.
Well, that's the first chapter. I don't really know where I'm going with this. I wrote this at 4:00AM. You can't really expect too much. I don't even know where I got this idea from. If the characters have been too OOC, blame it on my lack of sleep. Remember, flames are to be used for roasting my marshmallows or providing me with a good laugh!