Standard disclaimers apply.


By Cassandra's Destiny


Monday morning and as usual, the entire Hyuuga household was busy making preparations for the week, abuzz with the swapping of news on the progress of each member and statistics on all completed missions. Hyuuga Neji exchanged only brief greetings as he walked to the room directly facing the gardens. Tenten usually had morning tea with Hinata there.

Tenten. He grimaced. They both came home late last night from a week long mission, and, at his waking moment, her side of the bed was already made, hair ties taken out of the bedside drawer.

"Hinata-sama," Neji opened the door hurriedly, dismay evident in his tone. Even a man who does not possess the Byakugan can tell the room was empty. Tenten was not there.

Fighting the urge to mutter curses incoherently, Neji took a step back. He had to view the situation rationally. She obviously was not in their room sleeping, not in the bathroom taking a shower, not polishing the weapons she kept under their bed, not bribing the maids to let her do her own laundry, not having breakfast with Hanabi in the kitchen counter, and not having tea with Hinata. What could have happened to Tenten?

There were three possibilities that instantly came to mind.

One, she could have taken on another mission without his knowledge.

Neji marched out the Hokage's office, confident Tenten was in tow; his train of thought on the things needed to be prepared for the mission completely drowning Tsunade's summon.

"Tenten? Please stay for a while."

Out the door he went, and she tugged on his sleeve. "I'll just be a second. You can wait for me outside."

The moment the door was shut, Tsunade brought out a couple of files from her drawer. Slamming her hand on the table, she said, "I have a mission for you, and it has to be proceeding the minute you report back from your mission to Suna with Shikamaru, Lee and Neji." She began. "I don't think I have to repeat myself when I say this mission is confidential, therefore, cannot be made known to your team mates… even Neji."

Tenten nodded once in understanding.

So does that mean she's out on a mission alone?

Neji shook his head. She was with him when they reported back to the Hokage, all of them were, saved for Shikamaru, who decided to stay behind and settle personal affairs Neji can only speculate about. Tenten even gave Lee a good night kiss on the cheek before they parted with him, the two Hyuugas entering the compound at midnight and he sneaking under the covers with her slumbering form.

Of course, there still were the two other possibilities.

Two, she could have been kidnapped by an enemy of the Hyuuga family. In a matter of time, they would receive a note asking for ransom, and the whole ordeal with his father's body being sacrificed to meet another clan's demands would happen all over again.

Tenten gently rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand. Half-asleep, she stood from the bed and made her way to the kitchen to drink a glass of water. But as soon as she set foot on the corridor and closed the door behind her, a masked man jerked her arm and used a binding jutsu to disallow movement.

When she became fully conscious of what was happening, it was already too late. Her captor has placed a handkerchief over her mouth, drugging her unconscious in the process.

Neji shook his head again. Tenten is a stronger kunoichi than that; she would never allow such a thing to happen to her. Nevertheless, should they receive a ransom note in the next hour or so, he was ready, willing and able to commit bloody murder.

"No one desecrates what's mine," he thought.

Finally, the last possibility was the simplest of all.

Three, she left him.

She only pretended to be asleep, mastering the stabilization of her breathing as if in slumber. She had Neji to thank for that, of course; all those meditation training with him sure helped. It sure fooled him.

As soon as she was sure a heavy sleeper became of the man beside her – he hasn't had a single night of undisturbed rest in days, she adds – Tenten untangled herself from the bed sheets. With skills unique to ninjas, she shuffled to the door noiselessly after gathering her essentials.

Before completely exiting the room, she turned to him, lips curling into a none-too-innocent smile. "Stupid Hyuuga actually believed I was in love with him."

Now Neji furiously shook his head. This was only possible if: a, Tenten is actually a spy from another hidden village; b, she has a secret affair with another shinobi, whether from the leaf or from a neighboring country; c, she was never really in love with him to begin with or; d, Tenten was, in reality, a guy.

His brows furrowed, lips in a fine line. Tenten grew up in Konoha, studied in Konoha and has pledged loyalty for all eternity to Konoha. Tenten does not have any illicit affairs, open or secret, because he is sure she loves him as much as he loves her. Tenten, too, couldn't possibly have been faking her feelings all this time, for he knew she had been keeping all those emotions bottled up ever since their genin days. Besides, the first time they made love, though not on their honeymoon night, he was one hundred percent certain they really were making love.

And no, Tenten is not a guy. No further evidence is needed. He saw the proof, and it was impeccable.

He blatantly ignored his urge to smile at the memory. Inwardly smirk at the memory, yes, but grin like an idiot at the very memory of it all while alone in the middle of the Hyuuga halls, heck no.

Rubbing his temples, he decided to go back to their room immediately; perhaps Tenten left him a note or something to that effect.

He went on his knees to check if her weapons were still intact under the bed. Seeing that they were, he walked to the cabinet by the study to make sure all her favorite sharp and deadly objects were still intact. Opening the doors of the case, Neji was bowled over by the weapons he saw, or lack thereof.

A rather tentative knock on the door made him frown. It better not be a new cleaning lady who was too eager to furbish Tenten's beloved collection.

"Come in," he called, not even glancing at his visitor.


His eyes shifted to the owner of the voice. The familiarity he held of it was commanding enough that he paid respects. It was Hiashi.

"Your wife is blowing up what's left of the third training grounds as we speak. At least make an effort to stop her from destroying it completely."

With that, Hiashi left.

Neji watched his silhouette disappear into the halls completely, taking note of how direct and withdrawn Hiashi's statement was. If the Hyuuga characteristic of being impassive and sullen has finally rubbed off on Tenten, he deemed it was too soon. She should have woken him up if she wanted to spar, or if she wanted to have someone listen to her rant, or if she wanted to vent out all her frustrations from the previous mission, or if she just wanted to make things go… boom.

He let out a heavy sigh. If it was a random act for Tenten to blow up the third training grounds, he didn't know. But surely, he was about to find out.