The epilogue is here! Take note that this takes place ten years after the graduation. So… Neji, Tenten and Lee 27 years old? But Temari is 29 and Kankuro's 28, to be specific. Everyone else is 26.
Kankuro: You made me old!
Me: Technically, you're just a year older than everyone else.
Kankuro: Why do these things keep happening to me?! –cry-
Me: -sweat drop- Uh, anyway, this is the last chapter for this fic so… -sniff-.
Me: -points at Kankuro- Old guy!
Kankuro: -goes back to crying-
Me: I think I'm going to like this. –smirk-
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
"Ten Years Later…"
"We're on in nine!"
I don't know what happened to all of us of Konoha High's Batch 2008. Really, what happened to us? We used to be this bunch of mediocre bash heads and look at all of us now! Who knew, anyway? Who knew?
"I know! Excited? I know I am!"
Let's recap everything and well, be amazed all over again, shall we? Haha…
"Oh my gawd! There are so many photographers! And is that Steven Spielberg?!"
"Idiot! Steven Spielberg retired already!"
"I thought he was dead…"
The trio who used to be Column Seven of Bio Class are now well-known and rather prominent people. Naruto used to be just the batch clown. Sakura was goody-good two shoes. Sasuke was the baseball Joe undergoing his awkward stage high school…
"Hey, shut up, everyone!"
Now, Naruto's starring in Comedy Central. His show is a hit and is number 6 in the 'Greatest TV Shows of the Year' category. Sakura is now a documentary-writer and housewife. She married Sasuke, a successful hotelier. He and Sakura are expecting a baby in three months.
"Where's the star?! Where is she?! Oh, there she is."
Row Nine of Algebra and Algebra Remedial is still close as ever. It's like Ino, Shikamaru and Choji never even left the group after graduation. In fact, I think they even studied in the same college!
"Props persons! I need props here!"
Ino became a waitress in Shikamaru's restaurant. It's a diner that serves veal as their specialty. Choji co-owns it and also works as one of the chefs. The restaurant has been named "YamaNara's". Clearly, Shika and Ino got married as soon as they finished college. They have a one-year-old daughter names Kaino. They're rushing things, I'll say.
"Everything looks marvelous!"
"Indeed, indeed! Smile for the camera!"
"Do your best, everyone!"
Hinata, Kiba and Shino were the Gym Trio. And I think they still are. Shockingly, they all work for the city newspaper. Hinata used to be all shy but social. Kiba was rowdy and disoriented. Shino was… well, Shino…
"Hey! Shut up, everyone! Keep quiet backstage!"
"Allow only three photographers from the newspaper to enter."
"Including Shino Aburame of the 'Morning Bug-le', ma-am?"
"Let that hippie in! Haha!"
Hinata is the one who interviews important people and celebrities during parties and gatherings. Her articles get published almost every time. Shino, as you guys heard, is still a photographer. Kiba is writes articles for the sports section and also is pasting advertisements of his dogs (He's selling the three last litters because he says he has had enough dogs. Dalmatians, anyone?).
"Hey, Shino. How're things in the newspaper? How's Hinata and Kiba?"
The hippie just shrugged and flashed a photo of me.
The Beach Sibs left Konoha ten years ago. They came back six months ago, though. They went back to their home country for college. They're back to find better jobs. I guess they couldn't find great jobs back at their home.
"I wasn't ready for my picture to be taken!"
But Shino took another shot again. This time, my hands were on my hips, my mouth was in an angle and my eyes looked terrifying.
Temari works at the Internet Café across Kankuro's recording studio. Plus, Kankuro still has a band, but not his high school band. Plus, both Kankuro and Gaara joined Konoha Idol last year! Gaara won and had an album published… thrice!
"This'll be perfect for a scandal, Tenten. Thanks. Hehe. Kidding."
"Humph. You better be."
"I need a picture of you with the star."
"Idiot. I am the star!"
Then, there's my posse. Gawd, I miss my buds. I get to talk to Lee everyday, though. He failed the entrance exam to the Medical school he wanted to go to. He had no choice but to take Mass Communications with me. On our first year in college, his Mom died. Gawd, Lee cried so hard and tried to blame himself for everything.
"Really? How did that happen? I thought you were the directress."
"Shocking, huh? Well, I didn't know I had it in me, either."
"Now, about that picture…"
After we finished Mass Communications, Lee jumped into Journalism like how he has always wanted to. I, on the other hand, auditioned for 'Konoha's National Acting Troupe' five years ago. Even without the degree in Theatre Arts, they took me in. Lee followed his dream and began publishing books. And they make great best sellers! I wanted to be a directress, but ended up as an actress, instead.
"There we go. This'll be wonderful on tomorrow's paper."
"Thanks, Shino. You staying to watch?"
"Give Hinata and Kiba my best wishes."
And, well, I haven't forgotten about Neji. Realistically, Neji and I aren't patient people like the ones in movies, really. The ones in the movies wait patiently and painstakingly, waiting for the other without getting hooked up on anyone else. Neji did that, but I didn't. Kankuro and I were engaged once. Then it was canceled. Now, we're just acquaintances. Weird, huh?
"Tenten! Come on! Get on stage! We're on!"
But, really, things have changed between Neji and me. Mizu University took him. From then on, his life changed. He had to take his studies too seriously. One failing mark could destroy everything for him. Honestly, he didn't graduate in four years. He did after six. Tough.
From then on, only Hinata and Hanabi told me about him. He can't speak to me because he's always busy with studies back then, now with work. His secretary puts me on hold twenty times in a single phone call. I lost hope before and that's when Kankuro entered. Seriously, there were more guys after Kankuro… but Neji seems to be worth the wait.
"Ladies and Gentlemen, we are presenting to you tonight: A Midsummer Night's Dream performed by the actors of Konoha's National Acting Troupe!"
As I stood on stage under the spotlight, I watched the scene unfold. I love this play, really. It's one of my favorites. In this story, a woman, Hermia, is in love with a man she can never reach, Lysander. The man loves her, too, but unless she has a death wish, she can't marry him.
This woman has a suitor, Demetrius, someone she doesn't really like. But her best friend, Helena, loves her suitor. Technically, it's a whacked typical love triangle. I play the part of Hermia and my cue isn't in a few minutes.
I kept my stance as Hermia as I stayed on stage. Even if my mind is floating off at this time, it's alright. We've been working on this play for so long that I actually can do everything with my eyes closed.
Now, it's my turn to speak.
"Belike for want of rain, which I could well," I said, folding my hands like an innocent child, "Beteem them from the tempest of my eyes."
Really, I don't know what all this Shakespearean talk means, but Lee must now. I should've asked him earlier. Oh, he's in the front again. Usual.
I listened to my fellow actor as he spoke, "Ay me! For aught that I could ever read!" I forgot this dude's name, but I'm sure that he really needs to work on his staging. I mean, come on! "… The course of true love never did run smooth…"
Shakespeare can never be more correct about that.
But, seriously, I miss Neji so much. Even with all those relationships I've gone through, his was different, somehow. It's like his was the only one that was ever true… that's why it won't come easy. If I want it, I'll have to wait for it. Honestly, I wish I did instead of looked for other guys while Neji was away…
"I swear to thee by Cupid's strongest bow, by his best arrow with the golden head," Marvelous. This is the line where Hermia vows by almost everything that she will meet her love in the forest. Seriously, I wish Shakespeare had just written, "I'll see you there at 8!"
But, no. He had to complicate things, "By the simplicity of Venus' doves, by all the vows that men have broke, in number more than ever women spoke, that—…"
Shit. Oh my gawd, no way!
Is that… him? Can't be. But… it is.
Is that really Neji seated at the audience?!
He still has his ponytail! He's still got pearl eyes! He still smiles like that! No way! It is Neji! He's here! Watching me! Watching my play! All the way from Mizu! He's back! My best friend is back! Neji Hyuga is back!
"Tenten, say the damn line…" my co-actor whispered to me. Well, it's because I stopped on mid-sentence. Idiot, Tenten, idiot! Snap out of it and say your line! Don't get yourself fired, damn it! Wake up!
I saw my director behind the curtain, waving an angry fist at me! He looks like he's going to kill me if I mess the show up.
"…that I love thee with all my heart."
Shit! Wrong line!
But, hey, it's what I wanted to tell the smiling Hyuga at the third row.
Once the scene was done, the dork who plays Lysander walked up to me and asked, "Hey, what happened to you back there? You froze in mid-sentence, you said the wrong last line and you tripped as we walked to backstage! Are you unfocused or something?"
"Relax." I mumbled as I checked on my script, "I'm sorry I froze back there, okay? And no one will know that the last line was wrong, okay? Jeez."
Seriously, I want this play done and over with so I can just hug Neji and scream!
"Oh my gawd! Neji! Neji! Neji!"
I ran out of the backstage door and crashed onto him. "Neji! You're here! In Konoha! Here! Watching me back there! In Konoha! Oh my gawd!" I squeezed him harder and squealed louder. He laughed as I did and he hugged me back.
"Aw, I missed you, too, Ten!" he said, still holding on to me, "And you did an awesome job back there. Didn't know you could act."
"I knoooooow!" I squealed as I kept my hold on him, "But who cares? You're back! Back! In Konoha! Neji Hyuga is baaaack!"
We both laughed together as we shared that one, big hug in the middle of the sidewalk, "Easy, Tenten. I have a surprise for you." I let go immediately and smiled so hard I couldn't feel my cheeks, "Surprise? Columbian roses?"
He rolled his eyes and muttered, "How is it a surprise now? Huh, oh well." He took me by the hand and briskly walked towards a limousine. "Oh my gawd!" I screamed, squeezing his hand, "You own a limousine?!"
He chuckled and said, "Yeah, but what the heck, I don't have a driver. Not tonight, though. Any other day, I do."
After he opened the car door, he took out a really huge bouquet of blood red Columbian roses! And they were so beautiful! Big, gorgeous, fragrant, heart-stopping, expensive Columbian roses!
Once again, I squealed and brought the roses into my arms. I almost hugged it. I knew everyone passing by were giving me odd looks, but who cares, huh?! Who? I'll kill you!
"You missed those, didn't you?" Neji joked, watching me adore the roses.
"Gawd, yes!" I exclaimed, giddy like a child, "Do you know how many people have given me Columbian roses for the last ten years? No one! I mean, these roses are still expensive, you know! If these roses grew on trees worldwide, I'd get them everyday!"
Neji chuckled as I did, too, and there, he muttered, "Ten years, huh? Yeah, it's been so long, huh, Tenten?"
"How are you doing nowadays, anyway?"
"Hm. So-so. I've starred in countless plays already. It puts bread on the table. You?"
"Hyuga Corp. Hinata and Hanabi must've told you."
For a few seconds, we did nothing but exchange glances until I just couldn't take it anymore. I threw my arms around him again and screamed some more, "You have no idea how much I missed you, Neji! Ten crappy years of nothing but ass-crap relationships and waiting! You know how long ten years seemed to be for me?! Do ya?"
"Oh." It was all he could say?! Oh?! OH?!
So what if I had other men before? Not now, but before! They lost! They didn't last long. Kankuro was a great guy, but we didn't get married, right? Eventually, he'll be the one winning! Unless… Unless he doesn't plan to…
"Wanna have dinner?" I mumbled as I still hugged him. As I drew my arms away, he nodded and said, "Sure. Pick any restaurant and it'll be my treat. I promise."
"Sure! Like pie?"
"You know I do."
"Ino makes the best."
As Ino placed our orders on our table, she commented, "Neji Hyuga? I didn't think you'd actually come back to Konoha. I mean, you were so successful in Mizu. Why're you back now? Vacation?"
Neji shrugged and mumbled, "Just felt like coming back. I missed everyone."
And then, Ino smirked and teased all of a sudden, "Everyone? Hm, you don't miss everyone. You just miss Tenten. That's why you're back."
Uneasily, he cleared his throat and said, "Well, sure, I missed Tenten, too. Anyway, can I get a soda?" With that, Ino walked off towards the kitchen with her little bill pad at hand.
I rested my elbow on the table as I rested my chin on it. Looking at Neji, he hasn't changed so much. Kinda like me. He's still cute. He's still tall. Still nice and still sweet. The suit makes him more sophisticated and it kinda makes him stick out like a sore thumb in this diner, but hey. It's Neji.
"So, how are things in Mizu City?" I asked as I poked on my slice of mango cream pie.
He poked at his, too, and admitted, "Dull. It's all work. I can't get a social life and honestly, I want to get rid of my secretary."
Tell me about it. The bitch puts me on hold too much.
"And," he continued, "I heard someone was engaged the other year." He arched a brow at me and smirked. Ah, so he knows about the canceled engagement with Kankuro. I sighed then sipped some of my juice.
"It was nothing." I said, trying to smile things off, "It never really happened. It wasn't meant to, anyway. Subject change, please?"
"Can't we talk about it?"
"But why? It's past."
"Yeah, but I deserve to know about it, right?"
I nipped my lip and asked, "What about you? Didn't you get hooked up with a girl in Mizu?"
"No. They're all not worth it."
"Well, I wanted to wait until I could come home."
I rolled my eyes, "Ah, so you're gonna find a girl here in Konoha?"
"I've found someone."
I paused then jokingly guessed, "It's Kin, isn't it?"
"She was my ex in high school! I can't get back to her! Besides, she's a single mother now."
"I know that."
Then, Ino came in with a glass of soda for Neji. Neji and I just kept our gazes away while Ino was there until she suddenly blurt out, "Okay, fine! If you can't talk coz I'm here, fine! I'll let you two talk privately! Gawd, you people."
Heh. Spoiled-by-her-husband waitress.
"So…" I tried to start a conversation again as he ate some of his pie, "Are you back for good?"
He shook his head and mumbled, "Actually, I'm supposed to be flying back to Mizu now. My uncle will kill me if he ever finds out that I'm still in Konoha, actually."
I gasped softly, "But you just wanted to see me?"
"Well, yeah. And I wanted to give you those flowers and talk to you and—…"
"You really haven't changed, Neji." I interrupted him, "You're still you." I made a small smile as he smiled back, too. It's something I missed about him, really. I can't help but say it out loud: He's still the Neji Hyuga that I fell in love with.
"Oh, this is the night. It's a beautiful night. And we call it Bella Notte…"
What the hell…?
Then Choji comes in with a CD player, singing 'Bella Notte'. The Italian accent sent chills down my spine, but if it worked for Lady and the Tramp, why not? But did it have to be a CD player?! Seriously, Choji looks like a Nigger Wannabe with that stereo on his head.
Neji and I chuckled as the music played. This is totally whacked.
"Look at the skies, they have stars in their eyes on this lovely Bella Notte…"
Shikamaru walked out to our table and said, "Want spaghetti, too?"
We shook our heads in embarrassment. Seriously, the diners were already staring at us. Too much attention, isn't it, now? And get Choji some accordion lessons.
But Shikamaru shrugged and said, "Whatever. Ino's making some in the kitchen, anyway. Anything for the two lovebirds."
"Side by side with your loved one, you'll find enchantment here. The night will weave its magic spell, when the one you love is near!"
Neji raised his hand and asked, "Is this coming out of my tab?"
"But, really, Neji. Why're you here in Konoha?"
I was inside Neji's limousine, seated beside him up at front. He said he'd drive me home. Honestly, I haven't moved from that same place. We left the diner a little early. The three restaurant friends were already making me hide behind my bouquet.
"I had something to do." He simply answered my question. But for me, it clearly didn't make sense.
Even so, I just nodded and asked, "Well, are you done with it?"
"What? But… I don't get it."
"Don't get what?"
"Is it a business kind of thing?"
"I wouldn't say it is."
Yeah, like always, he's playing around with me.
In a few minutes, he stopped in front of my house. I invited him to greet my parents and my brother, but he didn't answer. He kept his eyes forward and I felt like worrying. Is there a problem again?
Because, seriously, I haven't seen him frown like this in years… technically coz I've also never seen him in years.
"Do you remember …" he began, saying it out of the blue. I arched my brow and waited for him to continue. But he suddenly shook his head and said, "Uh, forget that." No way.
I said, still looking at him amid the darkness, "I'd remember whatever moment you're trying to remember. Go on."
He smiled thinly then turned his car's engine off. What the hell…?
"Remember Grad Ball?" he asked, finally. I laughed and said, "How can I forget?"
He raised his brows at me and smirked. Oh yeah, his signature smirk. Haven't seen that in ages.
"I remember it really well," he answered, still showing his smirk, "In fact, I can even do those things again. I remember doing this…" Then and there, he cupped my chin again and after I giggled silently, our lips met once again in a kiss. Ten years! I haven't felt this kiss in ten years. And yeah, we both haven't changed when it comes to it.
We still tilt our heads. He still cups my chin. I still… suck (Hahahaha!). And he's still got me under his spell. My gawd, it's still the same on-target genuine kiss we shared during high school. But no one said he should change how he kisses me, right? Right? Hehe.
Soon, I felt his lips draw away slowly from mine and suddenly go down my jaw line. Here he is again, nuzzling me like how he did on the night of Grad Ball. "Can't give you a massage now," he whispered near my ear, "Fine with that?"
I giggled softly as he left kisses down my neck again. Well, bringing back memories isn't illegal. But as things went on, I felt his breath near my ear again and I knew he's going to whisper something. And he did. And I gasped when I heard it…
"Tenten, will you marry me?"
Oh my gawd. Did my ears deceive me or something? Neji Hyuga asked me if I would marry him? Whoa, whoa, whoa. Ten years ago, he did this antic and asked me to the Ball. Now, he does the same kind of trap and asks for my hand in marriage?!
I'd be an idiot to decline.
My eyes grew, I squeezed him into my hug as I squealed inside the car. "Yes!" I screamed, "Gawd, Neji, if that was all you wanted to ask, you didn't need to act all smooth and hot! Just ask and I'll scream YES!" I practically threw myself onto him.
Then I added, "But, really, I don't mind if you go all smooth and hot first."
He laughed and as we got up to fix our seats again (Believe it or not, Neji sat on the stick thing… whatever it is.) and when we were done, he took out a ring case and flipped it open, showing a ring.
He smiled and asked, "I have to be frank: You're the only reason why I came back to Konoha. I thought I wouldn't be able to do this tongiht, actually. I love you, Tenten and I hope the ring is good enough."
Slowly, he took it and slid it down my finger. I gazed at it lovingly then looked back at him, choking in my words, "Anything is good enough as long as it's from you."
And once again, he held me in my arms as I hugged him again. My happiness was practically flowing out of me!
Okay, I changed my mind: THIS is the best night of my life.
Well, this is awesome. Ten years ago, my story ended as an angsty tale. Now, I finally got my happily ever after. I guess this is The End for you and the start of a new chapter for me, soon-to-be Tenten Hyuga.
Not a bad ending for the Batch Sissy, right?
Please attend Neji and Tenten's wedding on June 9, 2008 at 8 in Konoha.
Me: So, D3 is over! I'm going to miss having to write this story. But stay tuned for my next chapter fic! Should I advertise it now?
Kankuro: Kill me first!
Me: Shut up, Old Man!
Kankuro: I'M NOT OOOOLD!
Me: Thanks for the reviews, hits, everything! It meant a lot! And as of now, D3 is the chapter fic with the most reviews in my stories list! Thank you so much! You guys rock!