In Fate's Hands

Chapter One:
You Can't Deny Us

Tenten stood in the middle of the clearing that had been her training ground since she was a young genin and watched her former teammate and close friend Rock Lee do his daily five hundred pushups. She looked towards the sky and saw that it was growing darker - it wouldn't be long before night fell and she would have to head home. She sighed. He normally was never this late.

"Tenten!" Lee called out to her in the middle of his pushups. "Are you sure that, while we wait for Neji, you do not want to join me in this vigorous and youthful exercise?"

"No thanks Lee," Tenten replied as she absentmindedly drew out a kunai and began to toss it up and down. Lee continued his pushups, mumbling numbers somewhere in the three hundreds. Tenten closed her eyes and continued to toss the kunai when she heard a twig snap somewhere in the bushes next to her. Tenten opened her eyes and looked over.

A small giggle was heard as a little girl burst forth from the bushes into the training ground, her pale eyes shining happily. "Hello Lee - sensei!" the little girl exclaimed happily as she threw her arms around the jonin's neck. Lee stopped his pushups and jumped up with the little girl in his arms, holding her in a warm embrace.

"Hello Aiko!" Lee replied. "Are you ready to come and continue to practice the technique of youth I was teaching you last week? If you complete it correctly, we will move on to something even more exhilarating!"

"Yay!" Aiko clapped her hands and grinned impishly. Lee looked over his shoulder and grinned at Tenten. "Are you going to be okay if we leave now?" he asked.

Tenten nodded and moved forward. "Just don't come back too quickly," she said. "And be careful with her." Tenten smiled at the little girl, who grinned back at her. "Hello Aiko," she said. "Where's your daddy?"

Aiko pointed to the bushes she had previously ran forth from. "He's back there Lady Tenten!" she exclaimed. "Daddy was taking a really long time to get here, so I ran ahead. Come on Lee - sensei! I want to start training!"

Aiko looked impatiently at Lee, who grinned and gave a thumbs up at Tenten. He walked off onto a path that led to a small brook not too far from the training ground. It was there that Lee trained little Aiko in taijutsu for an hour or two each week.

Tenten folded her arms as she watched them disappear along the path. Aiko was such a beautiful little girl. At four years old, she already held so much more liveliness than most children her age - but Tenten was sure that was an influence gained from training with Lee. It wasn't typical for a Hyuuga to show this much happiness, but Aiko was an exception to the Hyuuga stereotype.

She also smiled easily.

Tenten knew that she had given Aiko that characteristic, and by doing that she gave Hiashi Hyuuga another reason to hate her.

Tenten didn't really care much about what Hiashi thought of her. He had ruined any respect Tenten held for the Hyuuga elder four years ago. Now there was only one Hyuuga's opinion that Tenten cared for, the opinion that she had striven for years since their Team Gai days to gain.

She heard footsteps behind her. Tenten smiled and closed her eyes as Neji slipped his arms around her waist and kissed her tenderly on the back of her neck.

"You have your hair up," he murmured into her ear.

Tenten turned around in Neji's embrace and slipped her arms around his neck. "You're late," she replied before kissing him passionately on the lips. Neji kissed her back, tightening his grip around her waist. Tenten moved her hands up his neck and began to fumble with the tie on his forehead protector. Once it came undone she tossed it to the ground and broke the kiss. Neji looked at her curiously with his pale eyes as Tenten smiled at him lovingly and stood on her toes, placing a gentle kiss on his forehead where his curse mark was.

"Let's move over here," she suggested, gesturing towards a section of their training ground that was more secluded and out of view of the path that Aiko and Lee had taken. She guided Neji over and the Hyuuga prodigy noticed a rather large blanket at the foot of one of the closer trees.

Tenten noticed Neji's gaze. "Just in case," she said to him as she pulled him closer to her and began to kiss him again.

It didn't take long for the innocent kisses to become more heated and more passionate, each one a desperate attempt to make up for the weekly separation they had to endure and the four years of secret meetings at their old training ground. They had promised each other that, after what had happened four years ago, they would never allow themselves to go beyond kissing and touching again.

But both Neji and Tenten had broken promises before, and today was the day that they broke that one promise to each other as Tenten allowed Neji to love her as completely as he could.

She had known it would be a good idea to bring the blanket. Lying naked on dirt wasn't much fun anyway.

About half an hour later, the weapons mistress found herself wrapped up in the blanket with Neji, her arms wrapped around his waist and her head on his shoulder. Neji had his eyes closed and his hands in her hair, having taken it down from its' buns and undoing her braids in frustration during one of the more heated moments of their situation.

Tenten smiled to herself. She always enjoyed how angry Neji got when he had to undo her hair, tossing bobby pins aside and fumbling with rubber bands.

Tenten shifted slightly so she could get a better look at Neji, absentmindedly playing with a strand of his long dark hair. "So you never told me why you took so long coming today," she said, attempting to bring about conversation.

Neji opened one of his eyes and looked at her. "Hiashi wouldn't let me leave the Hyuuga compound with Aiko," he replied. "Hinata had to remind him that Aiko had a training lesson with Lee today before he gave us permission to go."

Tenten smiled fondly at the mention of the shy Hyuuga girl. "Thank goodness for Hinata," she said. "Or I might never get to see you."

Neji shrugged indifferently. "She helps when she can," he responded. "I would have found a way to come by myself."

"I know," Tenten replied as she snuggled closer to Neji. "I'm just thankful for her help. She treats your daughter well."

"Our daughter," Neji emphasized.

Tenten smiled sadly against Neji's shoulder. "Our daughter," she repeated, her thoughts drifting to the little girl training not too far away.

Aiko - the beautiful daughter of Neji Hyuuga. Her beautiful daughter. Their beautiful daughter. With her father's dark hair and pale Hyuuga eyes. With mother's face and smile. His light complexion. Her easygoing personality. Both of their abilities, their strengths and their weaknesses. She was truly an amazing child.

Tenten began to cry quietly. She could never think of her daughter without getting emotional. While Aiko was her daughter with Neji, their blessed reward for an action they had committed against the wishes of Hiashi Hyuuga four years ago, the little girl did not know who her mother was. Literally hours after her birth, the Hyuuga elder had taken the child away from her parents to be raised in seclusion within the confinements of the Hyuuga compound. Tenten had protested, Neji had done all he could. Hiashi would not relent.

Tenten felt anger pulse through her veins. She had known that Hiashi had never liked her. He tolerated her when she first began to date Neji, probably surmising that Neji would leave her for, in the words of the Hyuuga himself, "a more talented kunoichi with an some sort of an ancestry in her background, not an orphaned girl who doesn't even have a last name." He thought she wasn't good enough for the Hyuuga prodigy, and there were times when Tenten was silly enough to believe that herself.

But Neji hadn't left her. She knew he wouldn't. Despite his lack of telling her, Tenten, and many of their comrades, knew that Neji loved her more than anyone in his entire life and would rather die than be without her.

He had wanted to marry her, suggesting that they got engaged once they turned twenty. Unfortunately, he had to go to Hiashi for permission - and his uncle had refused their union defiantly. Tenten remembered when Neji came to her that night, upset and cursing loudly against the Hyuuga family as she held him close to her.

Then they began to kiss each other.

Then Neji started to remove her shirt.

Two months later Tenten discovered she was pregnant.

Neji was thrilled, as was Lee and Hinata - the only two people they had had time to tell before Hiashi had caught wind of it. Against their wishes, he had Tenten and Neji sent away on a "mission" for the duration of her pregnancy. Neji had protested against his uncle as best as he could before the Hyuuga elder threatened to disown the prodigy.

Tenten knew how important upholding the Hyuuga name was to Neji - especially since he tried to uphold it in memory of his father - and she had forgiven him when he had given into his uncle's wishes.

She had also forgiven him when Hiashi took Aiko from her. She knew Neji had nothing to do with that, feeling only hatred for his uncle. That hatred grew more when Tenten found out that Hiashi was restricting Neji's ability to leave the Hyuuga compound. For six months following the birth of Aiko, Neji was not allowed to leave his home.

It was Hinata who managed to free him, taking Neji with her to "go grocery shopping" one afternoon and bringing him to meet Tenten at their training ground.

Now it was Aiko's training lessons with Lee that brought Neji to her. They were both thankful for that.

Tenten only wished she could tell her daughter that she was her mother. According to Neji, the little girl often asked about who her mother was. They both knew he couldn't tell her. She was too young to understand the circumstances, and they both feared that if she found out the truth that she would accidentally reveal it in front of Hiashi - and both Neji and Tenten wanted to avoid that as much as possible.

It was hard enough meeting in secrecy as it was. They didn't want anything else ruining the little time they had with each other.

Tenten waited until her tears had mostly stopped before kissing Neji on the cheek and suggesting that they get dressed. "They'll be back soon," she told him. Neji responded with a nod, kissing Tenten longingly one last time before they both began a desperate scramble to collect their clothes and redress before their daughter and her green spandex - wearing sensei appeared among the pathway.

Neji was helping Tenten tie her forehead protector when Aiko came running into the clearing, dragging a rather worn - out Lee behind her.

"Are you feeling alright Lee? You look a little tired," Tenten asked her friend. Lee eyed her wearily before standing straight up and giving her and Neji a thumbs up and a grin.

"I am not tired," Lee responded. "I just need a little time for my youth to rejuvenate itself, and then I will be back to running ten mile laps around Konoha before supper!" He continued to grin at his two teammates as Aiko let go of his hand and ran towards her father.

"Daddy!" she shrieked happily. Neji knelt down and caught his daughter in an embrace, lifting her up and kissing her on the cheek. Aiko grinned and kissed him back, turning her attention towards Tenten.

"Hi Lady Tenten!"

Tenten smiled and waved at her daughter. Aiko waved back and returned her attention to her father, beginning to talk about the techniques of youth that Lee had been teaching her. Lee looked at Tenten and shook his head sadly. Tenten shrugged back and looked at her feet. She knew Lee was doing that because she hadn't responded in a more positive way to her daughter. Tenten knew that Lee was aware that she preferred to keep her distance until her child was old enough to understand everything. Tenten refrained from hugging the girl as well as attempting to not talk to her for long periods of time. Tenten thought it was bad enough that Aiko knew her name - if she ever mentioned that she was training with Lee and had also seen Lady Tenten in front of Hiashi, things would happen that would further ruin Tenten's life.

But Lee also knew how much it was killing Tenten to not even be able to be affectionate with her daughter or to be acknowledged by her.

So he keep his opinions to himself, shaking his head sadly when he felt he needed to make some of his feelings known.

Neji announced their departure, checking with Lee to make sure that he would be available the same time next week. As always, Lee was able to lend them his time.

Neji turned to Tenten. The two lovers looked at each other like they always did when they had to part - their eyes blazing with looks of longing and love, with their faces showing no significant emotion.

"Good night," Neji said after a moment. Tenten nodded in reply.

Once they were gone, Tenten and Lee began to gather their belongings. They headed back to the apartment building where they both lived in silence, enjoying the beauty of nature and Konoha as they walked.

They passed by the Hyuuga compound on the way home, and Tenten eyed the high walls of Neji's home and prison sadly as she looked for some sign of life in the darkened windows of the few homes that were visable.

"You know," Lee's voice broke the silence once they had passed the Hyuuga compound. "Aiko is a very beautiful and youthful flower. She is looking more and more like you every day."

Tenten clutched her blanket close to her and smiled sadly at her friend's attempt to cheer her up.

"Thank you Lee," she responded. "I've noticed."


(End of Chapter One)

A/N: Well, this is the end of the first chapter! I can't believe that I'm actually writing a Nejiten chapter story. Originally, this fanfiction started off as a one - shot, but when I actually started to write the story it became too long for a one - shot and was thus divided into chapters.

All the characters are not mine savor Aiko.

Thank you for reading and please review!

Chapter Two: Coming Soon!