::A/N:: So I watched How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days and came up with this story. I apologize ahead of time if 1: I don't update frequently. I personally dislike it myself, but I have a few chapters written on paper, so I hope that's a good start. 2: I don't want to make anyone OOC, but it's always hard when my favorite unemotional Hyuuga is trying to find someone to date. Hiashi pops his head in here every now and then, but since I don't know much about his personality, I just ran with what I knew. Hopefully, it's not too bad.

::WARNING:: And as a forewarning, if you don't know me at all, this is going to be a NejixTenten story. Ha, I might do some bashing later on, so if you like Neji and Sakura, it won't happen, because I would kill myself. If you like Neji and Ino, you're strange. If you like Neji and Hinata...I can't think of what to say to you, other than...sickos. Oh, and if you like Shikamaru and Ino, even though I don't think either will play a huge roll, or even come it at all, I made a refrence to them, and it wasn't good. If your hardcore about them, I'll warn you ahead of time, I did do some bashing. Termai owns Shika!

Enough babbling, I think that about covers it. Hope it's good and when I finish with the next chapter, I'll post it!

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto. If I did, Tenten would own Sakura in screen-time.


The Challenge

Their day ended like all the others. Her weapons were scattered all over the field, embedded in trees and in the ground. Small craters now covered the landscape as well. Both of them were exhausted, having been sparring for hours, non-stop in the afternoon heat. Even though it wasn't abnormal for them to train so long and so hard, it was still long and hard work. Anyone would grow weary after a while, no matter how physically fit you were.

Neji stood up tall and watched as his teammate jumped out of the tree she was in and landed across from him.

"I think that's enough training for one day," he said after a moment.

Tenten was relieved and fell down against the tree. "Wow, you're amazing, being able to hold out this long. I'll be lucky if I can move at all tomorrow."

Neji closed his eyes, taking her usual compliment to heart. She always said something to that degree. He knew he would never fail in her eyes. He just wished he could say something like that to her. "You seem to be improving as well. I am surprised you lasted this long."

She looked up and glared at him. "Thanks." Even though she knew it was more of a compliment coming from Neji, it still hurt. He could have said something better. He seemed to praise her and then put her down in the same phrase.

He sat down across from her and gave her a smirk. Did he say something wrong? Or did he not say it right? "I thought you were going to ask for a break hours ago. You looked tired."

She didn't respond. Instead, she focused on steadying her breathing. Why did he always nag on her weak points for the day? Moments ago, he said she was improving, but here he was, telling her how she wasn't. Couldn't he say something about what she did right?

"You impressed me." He looked right at her, but all she could do was give him a weak smile.

"We can keep going, you know. We still have a few hours before nightfall. We can…"

"No," he interrupted. "We've done quite enough."

Angered at his lack of her willingness to keep going, she glared at him again. "Fine. I'll go ask Lee to help…"

"No." Now he was glaring at her. "You are tired. Go home and rest." He stood up and grabbed his bag before turning to her again. "I'll see you in the morning."

She stood up and watched him leave, infuriated that he had the nerve to tell her what to do. She wanted to throw something at him with his back turned, but just because she was too lazy to reach out and grab a nearby weapon, she decided against it. He probably would have been able to stop it before it hit him anyway.

But the fact that he wouldn't even let her train with someone else angered her even more. She would admit that training with Lee was out of the question. She didn't think she could last a minute with him shouting youthful phrases. She had enough of that when she saw him during the day, which wasn't much. Plus, he wasn't Neji. She and Neji had been sparring for years. They knew each other's weaknesses and strengths, so they knew what to attack and how. As for Lee, he couldn't use Kaiten to avoid being struck by her hoard of weapons. He would dodge, and she wasn't used to that.

She could train alone, but years of training with Neji made that obsolete. Whenever she wanted to train, he always wanted to train. There were many times when he would walk over to her place, wake her up in the middle of the night, and ask to spar. Knowing she couldn't refuse a Hyuuga, she would oblige, and take her anger out on him during their fight.

Was Neji going to be mad if he found out she trained with someone other than him? She didn't want to think of Neji restraining her like that. If she needed to improve, why wouldn't he let her? Was he afraid that she would be better than him? She laughed; she would never be on par with Neji Hyuuga. What was she thinking?

When Neji was out of sight, she let out a groan, furious that he wouldn't stay to help her. Had he asked, she would have happily pushed herself harder to train with him, to make him better. Why couldn't he do the same when she needed the extra time?

Finally, she gave in and stood up. She looked around the small little field they trained at since they were Genin. Now, the three of them were all grown up, but old habits die hard. It seemed as though time had gone so fast, but it seemed to be the only thing that had changed. The three of them were still the same.

Well, character-wise. Neji was already a Jounin and had been for a few years, but he hardly ever went on a mission without his teammates. Lee was trying so hard to become a Jounin like Neji, but there was always something he couldn't quite do, making him train harder on his weak points so he could be on the same level with his eternal rival. She usually accompanied Lee on the exams, but to be perfectly honest, she was quite content with being a Chuunin. She hoped that one day she would reach Jounin level, maybe even ANBU, but it could wait. She wanted to enjoy life one day at a time.

She sighed, then focused her mind to the present task and began picking up her scattered weapons. Her mind shifted back to Neji. Maybe he had somewhere else to be, an important meeting with the Hyuuga family. She mentally slapped herself. It seemed she was always making up an excuse for his actions.

"Just because he won't train with me doesn't mean I have to stop," she whispered to herself. No, she did not need Neji to be able to train. She would just have to make do with the lack of his presence.

"TENTEN!!" She nearly jumped out of her skin at the sound of her name being yelled at from a few inches behind her. She thought she was alone, but since her mind wandered, anything could have happened.

"Why is the youthful Tenten picking up weapons alone?!"

After a few minutes to allow her racing heart to slow down, she whipped her head around and stared at her hyperactive teammate. "Don't you ever scare me like that again!"

Lee's eyes widened for a second, then he smiled, blinding her with the reflection of light coming off his teeth. "I will not scare you like that again! I promise!" Then Lee asked his question again. "Why is the youthful Tenten picking up weapons alone?"

She ignored him and continued her job. Neji usually stayed after they were through to help her, but obviously he had something more important to do than helping her. She didn't care, though. If he was acting like an ass, she didn't need his help anyway.

"Is the youthful Neji sick?"

"No, Lee," she replied angrily, picking up another kunai. "He just left."

Behind her, she heard Lee gasp. "That is so unyouthful! He should never leave you to do this much work alone! What is wrong with him?"

'This much work?' Was everyone trying to put her down today? "I don't care!" she yelled, making Lee jump a few inches, startled. When he was silent, she sighed and went back to what she was doing. "I'm sorry, Lee. I didn't mean to take it out on you."

He shook his head and smiled at her again. "Then if Neji will not help you, I will! If I cannot help you finish this before the end of the hour, I will run an extra one hundred laps around Konoha!"

Tenten smiled as she watched Lee pick up weapon after weapon, doing so in a quickly manner, for he only gave himself five minutes to complete his task. She immediately forgot she was mad at him. Lee always seemed to be the one she counted on to make her happy after a long day with Neji, or anyone for that matter. She didn't know where she would be without him.

-----

When Neji reached the Hyuuga mansion and the solitude of his room, he fell on his bed and angrily released a breath he didn't know he was holding. Why couldn't he tell her that he had to meet with Hiashi at five? Instead, he walked away. She was probably mad at him for leaving her to pick up her weapons alone. He liked staying and helping her, talking to her about random things, discussing ways to improve their skills, going over what they did right and wrong.

He knew he still had a little time before the meeting. He wanted to run out and see if she was still at the training grounds and if she was, he wanted to apologize. But he was never late to a meeting. If anything, he was always early. It would take him about ten minutes to reach the field and come back, and that was without saying anything to her. He only had fifteen to spare before five. He didn't want to show up at the field to be seen leaving again. She would really hate him for doing that again, twice in one day. He decided to wait and talk to her afterward. He knew she would understand if he had a good reason.

He decided to walk on to find Hiashi. He would just be a little earlier than usual. He walked down the hall towards the opposite side of the house, walking slowly to buy him some more time.

"Ah, Neji. I was looking for you." He popped his head up when he heard his name. Surprisingly enough, there stood Hiashi with a smile on his face. "Let's go ahead and talk. You seem rather eager to be doing something else right now."

Neji bowed, thankful that he had read his mind. "Thank you, Hiashi-sama." He followed the older man into his office and closed the door behind him.

"Please, sit down Neji. I hope to make this as quick and painless as I possibly can."

Neji's eyes widened. 'Painless?' Now he was a little worried. When Hiashi's smile changed to a frown, Neji straightened in his seat. What in the world could this be about?

"As you know, you have recently reached the age to marry. The Elders and I have discussed it, and we want to find someone very suitable for you. Tomorrow, you will be introduced to a possible future mate."

Neji felt his heart sink to the bottom of his stomach. He knew this had to be coming from the moment he turned eighteen. He just didn't want someone to be chosen for him. He wanted to choose the one for him.

"Now, from the look on your face, you are not too happy about this decision. However, you do have a say in who you want to marry. If you do not like the person we have selected, you can tell us so, and we will move on to another person."

Neji smirked, then bowed his head. "I appreciate the honor, but I think I can find someone on my own." Neji knew he was speaking out of line, but it was a chance he was willing to take.

He was waiting for Hiashi to turn down his request, but instead, he took Neji by surprise, and laughed.

"You have someone in mind already?"

Neji fought his embarrassment and shook his head. "No, Hiashi-sama, not yet."

Hiashi was quiet for a moment, then he leaned up to Neji and stared at him. "I'll make you a deal, Neji. I shouldn't be doing this, but because I look at you as one of my own, I will make an exception. You have one month to find someone to date, and if you can keep them for, let's say, a week, I will let you choose your future wife. No strings attached."

Neji's jaw nearly hit the floor. He was expecting a simple 'no' and maybe a reason, not a laugh and a challenge. He remained in shock until Hiashi caught his attention again.

"Do you think you can do that, or have I set the requirements a little too high for you?"

"I…it shouldn't be a problem." His mouth acted before he could think, but he seemed somewhat satisfied with the answer. Neji Hyuuga never backed down from a challenge. This time, it would be whether or not he could succeed.

Hiashi smiled again and stood up. As he passed Neji, he placed his hand on his nephew's shoulder. "If you can prove to us that you have someone in mind, and can keep them for one week, I will inform the Elders to deny this request."

He began to walk away when Neji spoke up to stop him. "Wait. I…I have a question." Hiashi stopped and turned to Neji. "If I succeed this deal, do I have to marry the girl I am with at the time, or not?"

Hiashi smiled. "No, Neji. If you win this bet, you can choose who you want, and when you want it. I wish you luck, and I personally hope that maybe one of these girls you find could be the right one for you."


I apologize if Hiashi was out of character there. I tried to make him easy-going, but leader-ish as well. And to my fellow NejixTenten fans, do not fear! Things between them will get...you'll find out soon!

If you have caught any of my mistakes in here, feel free to correct me. I'm usually wrong anyways. Thanks for reading, and hope it was a good start.

Kratos Wilder

Next Chapter: The Candidates: "I think you should at least give her a shot."