Apologies for the long overdue update. Got pretty busy with studying for exams but now that I am on holidays I guess there is no excuse for more regular updates now... AND a big big Thank you to all my reviewers, especially the regular ones who have stuck with me despite my terrible updating tendencies.
Hope you all enjoy this chapter!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto characters, I do not own any of the other anime characters from other animes mentioned either.
Party like there's no tomorrow
"That sucks that you can't make it to Ino's birthday," sighed Tenten, resting her chin on one hand as she stirred the remainder of her milkshake with a pink plastic straw. She and Haku were sitting in another café catching up once again.
"Zabuza is taking me to see my favourite artist play that night," he replied and shrugged, "So who else is going?"
"Well us girls and boys from dancing. Ino was also going to invite some of her other friends from Suna, most of them used to go to Konoha Girls Grammar with us. The other birthday boy, Shikamaru, he's having all his friends and he's friends with Lee, Kiba and Sai as well. "
"Does this mean Neji will be there?" Haku asked slyly.
Tenten kicked him under the table sharply.
He winced and changed the subject. "So what are you going to dress up as?"
"Well," said Tenten slowly, "I was actually thinking of going as Mei Chan from Full Metal Alchemist because her buns and outfit would be quite easy to do." She gave him a wide grin. It was a fantastic idea, she knew she could pull off Mei Chan really well.
Haku just stared at her incredulously.
"What?" her grin faded.
"You're pulling my leg right?" Haku asked her slowly and when she gave him a confused look his jaw fell open in horror. "I am not letting you go to a big school party dressed as that! If you do I will disown you!"
"But what's wrong with Mei Chan? She's cute and has a mini panda!" grumbled Tenten. She had been quite excited about the idea.
"She's not hot! That is not going to impress Neji at all!"
"Then what, I go dressed as a slut?" Tenten replied waspishly.
"Well, yeah, but with class," Haku informed her sagely.
Tenten just stared at him incredulously, unsure of how to respond to that… but one thing for sure, she was not going to ask him for serious relationship advice anytime soon.
"Tenten, I have an excellent idea of which character you could go as," he suddenly piped up. His eyes gleamed with excitement.
"Who?" she asked suspiciously. Haku got some pretty crazy out there ideas sometimes and she didn't know if she could trust him.
He made a zipping motion over his lips, "Trust me, when Neji sees you it'll totally knock him out."
Tenten gave him a hard stare, "Why should I trust you?"
"Who catches you for every jump and is always there for every lift for dancing?" he countered.
She continued eyeing him suspiciously and finally nodded. Ok perhaps Mei Chan was a tad juvenile "Ok fine, just this once. But it'd better be good or else I will hurt you."
"Tenten! You look fantastic!" exclaimed Ino over the blaring music.
Tenten smiled awkwardly at the blonde girl who had dressed up as SailorMoon. She wasn't sure how keen she was on Haku's creation herself as she was in serious danger of having a wardrobe malfunction because the dress was that low-cut. "Wow, lots of people are here already, do you need me to do anything?"
Ino shook her head, "Nope, it's all ready. Just drink and have fun!" She took a swig from her vodka mix and pulled Tenten with her to the living room where more people were gathered.
They stopped for a moment when they found Kiba and Sai mixing strange alcoholic concoctions in the kitchen. "Hey Tenten, looking good," Kiba told her cheerfully with a thumbs up. He was dressed as Hisagi and Sai had come as Ishida from Bleach. Kiba had even brought Akamaru along and managed to tie a ribbon around his dog's neck. "Here, try this, it's really nice." The spiky haired boy handed her a blue coloured cocktail drink. "I call it 'the Liver Lover'!"
Tenten took it, eyed the drink doubtfully before shrugging her shoulders and taking a sip. She nearly spat it out, "Kiba! Does this contain anything else besides alcoholic shots?!"
Kiba looked thoughtful, "I can't really remember."
"You added in some energy drink," Sai pointed out helpfully. Tenten sighed and walked away with the drink.
"I'll be back for one!" Ino told them with a gleeful grin before catching up with her guest.
"I only put in about a tablespoon of energy drink didn't I?" Kiba asked Sai once the girls were out of earshot.
Neji had been sitting on the couch for half an hour, stonily glaring at everybody else. It was slightly quieter in the living room. Outside, too many girls had been approaching him and he had icily made it clear to them that he was not interested but none of them seemed to be taking the not so subtle hint. There had even been two girls who had fought over who could sit on his lap. He had escaped into the house during their argument and prayed that they would forget him in their drunken stupor.
Hinata sat next to him nervously poking her fingers together, she had had to do a lot of cajoling to convince him to actually dress-up. Now that they were at the party she had been so excited about, she had turned into a shy wallflower. Both of them had somehow ended up dressed as Rukia and Byakuya Kuchiki. It had been Naruto's fault, he had picked out a Bleach character for everyone except Ino, Sakura and Tenten who had told him that they already had organised their own costumes. Sakura, in her Princess Sakura outfit from Tsubasa Chronicles, was sitting on another couch looking nonplussed as Lee, dressed as the arrancar Pesche, continually tried to strike up a conversation with her. Neji felt bad for his friend, but at least Lee had the guts to try whereas he didn't. He finished his beer and sighed.
"Is something the matter Neji?" his cousin asked quietly. "You've seemed a bit down lately." Her pale eyes fixed on him concernedly.
He blinked at her and wiped his face of any expression. "I'm fine Hinata."
The look on her face told him plainly that she didn't believe him but she remained silent.
"Hey everyone," Ino's voice rang out loudly. He turned towards the doorway and nearly dropped his beer bottle. Thank goodness it was empty. Neji's breath hitched in his chest as he stared at Lust from Full Metal Alchemist standing at the door with a blue cocktail in her hand next to Sailor Moon.
"Tenten you look so hot!" squealed Sakura, seizing the opportunity to jump up from the couch and hugging the other girl tightly.
He was barely aware of Hinata rising from her seat next to him and crossing the room to greet her friend. Neji's brain function temporarily ceased as hormones rushed through his veins. All he could think right now was 'wow'. There were some very nice curves indeed. He had always been known that she had pretty nice figure but he had never been this aware of that fact before. It took him a few seconds to realise that he was still gaping at her like an idiot. Lee had already hugged her and told her that she looked like a beautiful lotus blossom by the time he realised that he was the only one sitting down on the couch.
"Hi Tenten," he ventured finally, joining everyone else where they were standing.
A smile lit up her features and she pointed at him excitedly, "You're BYAKUYA KUCHIKI! He's my favourite character!" Neji blinked in surprise, Tenten knew her Bleach characters, which meant that she followed his favourite anime Bleach… It suddenly occurred to him that he might have found his soul mate. But fate would have it that she was taken of course; he never was an especially lucky person.
Tenten then turned to Hinata, suddenly realising which shinigami she was, "Oh my gosh you're Rukia! I have to get a picture of you both!"
It wasn't quite the greeting he would have preferred. Neji found himself glaring at the camera, he hated having his picture taken. Hinata stood demurely next to him while Lee jumped in their picture and did the peace sign.
"Tenten, did you want a picture with your favourite character?" Lee offered. She nodded eagerly and handed him her camera.
Neji gulped and stood stiffly next to her. He wasn't sure he could think straight with her dressed like that. Ino, who had been observing them with an eerie smile remarked nonchalently, "Hey Neji, can you actually look like you're enjoying yourself? Put your arm around her and smile for goodness sake."
He scowled at the blonde before gingerly placing his arm around Tenten's waist. It felt so very right and comfortable somehow. Tenten simply smiled and shook her head wryly at her friend before draping her arm causally around him as well. The camera flashed and Neji blinked away the after-flash, trying to regain his vision. Tenten was suddenly standing next to Lee inspecting the photos taken on her camera and Neji tried his best not to stare at the homunculi tattoo on her chest. He barely registered Shikamaru and Chouji strolling into the room or the birthday boy approaching him.
"Oy Neji," said Shikamaru nudging him sharply in his ribs. "Might want to stop staring at her chest," he added quietly.
Neji straightened sharply and glared at the younger boy. "Not funny Nara."
"I have to get a picture of the pair of you together!" he heard Tenten's voice exclaim in the background. Lee and Chouji obediently posed as Pesche and Dondochakka for her.
Shikamaru scratched the side of his nose, "I wasn't trying to be funny, I was being helpful. People were going to notice. Anyway, do you want to play chess? You're the only one around who can give me a decent game."
"What about Guitar Hero?" Neji countered, he wasn't keen on playing chess against Shikamaru. It required a lot of thinking and he always lost. He at least stood a chance at beating Shikamaru in that game.
"Sasuke and Naruto are hogging it trying to beat each other at Dragonforce."
"Damn," he said quietly, those two would take a while, and followed Shikamaru out of the room, but not before throwing one last glance at Tenten as she chatted to Lee and Chouji. She looked like she was enjoying herself.
Tenten glanced around and realised that Neji and Shikamaru had disappeared. She had wanted a picture of Shikamaru since he was dressed up as Zaraki. The other girls wandered outside to mingle with old Konoha girls who were now attending Suna. Tenten followed them eagerly, there were a lot of her old friends that she hadn't seen for months.
"Tenten!" called out a girl long dark hair who had come as Kikiyo from Inyasha. "I almost couldn't recognise you with your get-up, we haven't seen you in ages."
"Shit, you always used to be such a dag and a tomboy. Look at you now," exclaimed another girl dressed as Yachiru.
That was a little insulting, she thought to herself. Those two had always had a way of making her feel small. "Kin, Tayuya!" Tenten fixed her smile on her face and approached her old friends who now went to Suna. They hugged her briefly and she took a step back to see them properly. They looked quite drunk already, but then again they had always had a habit of getting completely wasted at every party they attended. "So what have you guys been up to?"
"School and parties, duh what else," giggled Kin as she swayed unsteadily on her feet. Both drunk girls grabbed onto each other for support but ended up falling over.
Tenten sighed and helped them both up again. They had been best friends when they first started highschool but about a year ago, she felt like she had drifted from the other girls and she couldn't put a finger on why. They always complained in the past that she was no fun because she never got drunk enough and never made out with boys at parties. But she was always the one who held the other girls' hair back while they puked into the toilet bowl or whatever plastic bag she could find, wasn't that enough? Tenten really liked hanging out with Kin and Tayuya back in the day when they weren't getting drunk and making out with boys at the various parties they now attended every weekend. Some part of her was still stubbornly loyal and was hoping that one day they would get over whatever phase they were going through but another part of her was asking whether she was better off without them. She quelled that part ruthlessly, she shouldn't be thinking like that at all she told herself.
"I think you guys need to drink some water for a little bit. Wait here for me, I'll be back," she told them with a half-laugh.
"Troublesome eye-patch," grumbled Shikamaru as he reached for a chess piece and missed yet again. "I have no depth perception with this damn thing." He finally pulled it off his head and tossed it carelessly onto the table.
Neji snorted and took another swig from his beer. He was losing as expected, and badly as well. A few more people entered the room and he looked up. It was Gaara, Kankuro and their older sister he couldn't quite remember the name of since they hardly ever saw her. She was in her final year of school so was studying hard to get a place in the university course she wanted. He knew Gaara and Kankuro from basketball matches and it was odd not seeing them in their basketball uniforms for once but dressed as Espada from Bleach. It looked like more people than he expected were fans of Bleach. Gaara had managed to pull off Ulquiorra magnificently but he was still rather unsure about who Kankuro was meant to be. But he was guessing that their sister was Matsumoto from the outfit and the rather impressive cleavage. He also noticed that Shikamaru was very impressed and was failing to hide it poorly indeed.
"Hey," said Kankuro nonchalantly. He began helping himself to one of the beers from the six-packs that Shikamaru and Neji were finishing between them.
"Who are you meant to be?" Neji asked bluntly. He was never one to beat around the bush. "I know Gaara's Ulquiorra and she's Matsumoto but who are you?"
"Yammy, geez man how come I get stuck with the lousy Espada and Gaara gets the cool one?" grumbled Kankuro.
"Because you both scissors-paper-rocked for Ulquiorra and you lost Kankuro. Get over it," drawled his older sister. "I'm Temari, I'm afraid my brothers don't have enough manners to introduce me so I have to do it myself."
"That's Neji and I'm Shikamaru," the birthday boy finally managed to say.
"He's the birthday boy," Kankuro added helpfully. "Sweet party and by the way, I saw some random guys trying to convince your cute little cousin to play spin the bottle, Hyuuga."
Neji stood up immediately, looking pissed. "Whereabouts?" he growled. Hinata was far too nice and polite for her own good sometimes.
"In the living room," replied Gaara on his brother's behalf since Kankuro had already wandered outside to try to score with some chicks.
He was halfway to the door when Shikamaru asked mournfully, "What about our chess game?"
"You're winning anyway, go start a new game with someone else," snapped Neji before he left.
Shikamaru sighed, "Troublesome," he muttered.
Temari slid into the seat opposite him with a calculating smile, "I'll play."
"Dude, don't force her to play if she doesn't want to," rang out a loud voice.
Neji had found his cousin just in time to see Naruto come to her rescue. How fitting, he thought for a moment, Naruto dressed as Ichigo coming to Rukia's - i.e. Hinata's - rescue.
"You her boyfriend or something?" sneered the other boy.
Naruto sputtered, "No! But she's my friend!"
"Well maybe she does want to play with me and not with you." The boy put his arm around a very uncomfortable looking Hinata and pulled her closer to him. She tried to push him away but her efforts were futile. He had a strong grip on her and was much larger in size as well.
"Just let her go, there are other girls who will play with you," Sasuke tried to reason with the boy holding Hinata pretty much hostage. He ran his hand through his hair worriedly, knowing that a fight was about to break out and if it did, his Aizen costume would be ruined.
"She's cute, I like her," the guy even had the nerve stroke the side of her face with his free hand. Hinata shuddered and tried to free herself from his grip once more but was unsuccessful. She turned to Neji and Naruto with a pleading look in her eyes, she was starting to panic.
"Let my cousin go," warned Neji in an icy voice.
"Ohhh and what are you going to do to me you pussy? Cry for your mamma?" came the mocking reply.
All hell broke loose and luckily for Hinata, Shino who had been quietly observing from the sidelines had the sense to pull her away from the fight before she could get hurt by any wayward blows. A few of the sleaze's friends had also joined the scuffle and she gasped when she saw Neji break the other guy's nose.
Tenten suddenly appeared, attracted by the noisy commotion. Her curiosity had gotten the better of her. "Oh my god, Hinata what happened?"
Hinata barely registered the other girl asking her a question as she had started crying, she didn't want her cousin to get hurt or her friends, especially because of her. "Stop fighting!" she wailed.
One of the sleaze's cronies suddenly appeared with a large wooden plank he had found by the fence and approached the fight with a manic look on his face. "This is bad," said Shino, moving forward to try to intercept the guy.
Hinata gasped and tried to run forward but Tenten held her back. The older girl wracked her brain desperately wondering how she could make them all stop. Suddenly she had an idea and she cupped her hands over her mouth and yelled, "SHIT! THE COPS ARE COMING!"
Everyone involved in the fight and within earshot froze for a moment, then fled and just like that, the party was suddenly over.
Every single teenager who had been at the party had made themselves scarce within five minutes of Tenten's little announcement except for their group of friends who were the only ones still there. Ino had thrown a hissy fit at Naruto, Sasuke and Neji for ruining her birthday party before storming off, close to tears. Chouji had had to go after her since Sakura was busy trying to comfort a sniffling Hinata who kept moaning that it was all her fault. Strangely enough that no one seemed to be able to find Shikamaru or Temari anywhere and most of their other friends had already passed out somewhere so they had missed the entire show. Neji couldn't take the hysterics anymore and had gone outside with bottle of bourbon to nurse his black eye in peace.
He was lying on his back on the grass gazing at the stars with his good eye when he heard someone approach and sit down next to him.
"Hey," said Tenten simply. "How are you feeling?" She lay down beside him. She wasn't too sure why she had come out here after Neji but it had been an eventful night and she needed to chill for a bit.
"Sore," he muttered.
She chuckled and patted his arm sympathetically. "Do you want an icepack or something?"
"I'm fine." Neji waved the bourbon bottle he had found in the esky of melted ice when looking for an icepack. He had decided to use the bottle as a makeshift ice-pack instead since it was still cold. He gulped some of its contents down his throat. It burned, it was pretty strong.
Tenten tilted her head to get a better view of him and laughed, "You're not fine." She tried to take the bottle away from him.
"No, I need to self-medicate," he protested.
"Don't be selfish and share," she giggled and when she finally succeeded in taking the bottle from him, she took a swig. "You know, when that guy turned up with that piece of wood I got really scared, one of you guys could have ended up in hospital," Tenten told him sombrely.
"Sorry," Neji mumbled. He felt bad for making Tenten worry. He also felt terrible for making Hinata so upset but he just had to do something, he couldn't stand to see that prick try to take advantage of his cousin.
"Don't worry it was for a good cause," she replied quietly and passed the bottle back to him. Neji took another swig then he passed it back to her. They both continued passing it back and forth to each other until she started giggling uncontrollably for no reason. Only now that the party was over, was she getting wasted for the first time ever. She tried to sit up but everything started spinning so she flopped back down again.
"I think you've had enough," laughed Neji taking the now empty bottle away from her and placing it down on the grass away from them both.
"It's not fair, how come you're not drunk at all and you had the same amount of alcohol as me as well!" she groaned.
"Do you want the scientific explanation?" he teased her. She punched him lightly in reply. "I am drunk anyway, I just don't act that different to when I'm sober." Neji propped himself up on his elbow so he could study her face more easily. She looked so beautiful under the moonlight as corny as it sounded. "You looked really pretty tonight." The words were out of his mouth before he could stop them.
Tenten blushed furiously and smiled slowly at him. "Thanks," she replied shyly. He is pretty drunk after all, she thought to herself. Wait, was it her imagination or was his face coming closer to hers? Neji gently pressed his lips against hers and kissed her. Tenten froze, she was completely stunned for a moment. Then the alcohol and her attraction to him took over and she kissed him back.
A/N: Duh duh duh... progress yay. Sorry if the kiss wasn't romantic enough, I can't do romantic kisses in fact I can't do kisses at all fullstop. I avoid them like the plague...
I'll try to update sooner than usual! (provided I'm not enjoying my holidays too much hehe)
Anyway, feel free to leave me a review! I like reviews!