A/N: I just had an epic fail about this chapter. Last one, best prompt you could ask…
And I do a miserably mediocre job at best.
I had a mental picture. Once again, it didn't turn out good at all. Ending was flat. It was horrid. XD I'm only posting it because I feel bad. Also, because I'll never be able to focus on my new ShikaTema if I don't. So here we go.
I might redo it later though!
Prompt Ten: One kiss breaches the distance between friendship and love.The kunoichi smiled softly as she felt a depression occurring on the bed besides her. Cracking her eyes open, she stared at the handsome boy sitting besides her. He looked even more heavenly with the unnatural glow of light bearing down upon him, his face blank.
"How are you feeling?" she asked quietly, her voice barely audible over the beeps of the machines besides her. "I've healed completely," Neji assured her before narrowing his eyes lightly. "It is I who should be asking you that question."
Definitely the understatement of the year.
"I'm fine," she hurriedly put in, desperate to change the conversation away from her medical condition. It was bad enough that she was sitting in the hospital and that he was visiting her; there was no need to dwell on what was going on in said room.
After she spoke, an awkward silence filled the room. Neji and Tenten both shifted their eyes away from each other's uncomfortably as seconds ticked by.
They remained so for a few minutes, until the stoic Hyuuga stood up roughly. "I'm going to leave. I'll come back later."
He stomped towards the door, but her pained voice stopped him in his tracks. "What happened to us, Neji?"
The prodigy clutched the doorknob, stiffening with the question. "Nothing. It'll be exactly like before, Tenten."
If only he had controlled himself a few days ago…
-Flashback-Gasping, Tenten sank wearily against the rough wall, her heart racing. The air was stuffy inside such a small space and was devoid of any lighting in the darkness of the night, yet at least here she was safe. Gone were the hundreds of shinobi that had jumped upon Team Gai that night.
Minutes later, she heard a scuffle at the entrance of the narrow passageway and gasped softly, trying in vain to stifle her erratic breathing. She was almost certain that the person was far from being an enemy, but in these kinds of situations, she could never be sure.
Soon she felt the brush of cloth as the person squeezed in besides her. He then stopped moving once he was settled in a comfortable-enough position.
"N-Neji?" she whispered as softly as she could, knowing that no one else on Earth could manage to be as silent as he. "Are they gone?"
"I think so," he replied just as silently.
It took a few moments for the kunoichi to speak the question that was burning on her tongue. "What happened to Lee and Gai?"
Neji chuckled carefully besides her. "They were just cutting through those ranks of shinobi. Don't worry about them."
Tenten shut her eyes. It was strange to have Neji talk the way he was doing at the moment but she knew that he was only doing it because she was terrified. She felt him stiffening besides her as he activated his Byakuugan, scanning around them.
"We're safe for now," he said with a small nod, returning serious. "Honestly, Lee and Gai went to hide on the other side of the coast. I told them to meet us back at Konoha. We had no choice to split up, Tenten."
"I know," she replied as she leaned her head against the cold rock. Her eyes then bulged slightly when Neji began to slide out of their cave. "What are you doing?"
"Come out," he ordered sternly, raising his voice now that he knew they were safe. "I need to examine you."
Tenten's eyes watered as she managed to crawl out with her arms hanging limply at her sides. Her mind almost shut down as she refused to think, refused to let herself imagine the extend of the damage done to her.
Once outside, Neji opened up the smallest of fire using a match from his pocket. Once he had enough light, he outstretched an arm towards her, palm facing skyward and fingers uncurled.
Still upset, Tenten raised one of her limbs and placed her own right hand over his, looking away.
It was so quiet that she heard him swallow painfully at the sight. She herself didn't want to face what had happened. The steady pain coursing from her hands all the way through her arms told her everything. He raised her second hand to study it as well and she bit her lower lip to keep herself from screaming out.
After a few tense moments, she finally had the courage to question, "Is it bad?"
"Worse than I thought," he dully replied. "Keep them outstretched for a few seconds."
Tenten uncomfortably complied as she watched him sit on the ground. Her own eyes finally trained on her arms and she coughed loudly to restrain the choking sob that slid out.
Her palms were utterly scorched, bleeding freely. The skin on her fingers were mostly torn off or burnt, going all the way to her wrists. Now that the thrill and adrenaline of the fight had worn off, she was beginning to feel the pain such wounds would produce. Gritting her teeth, the kunoichi then attempted to curl her fingers into fists, but soon realized that only the bones of her left thumb weren't broken.
Forcing her mind away, she lowered her eyes to look at Neji, who was unwrapping the thin bandages from around his legs. Most shinobi kept those to strengthen the bones in case of a vicious punch or kick and Neji had adopted that practice years ago.
Less than a minute later, the long bandage was free and he reached over to touch her face. Plunging his eyes deeply into hers, he whispered gently, "This'll hurt."
"I know that," she replied with a curt nod, ready for anything. Carefully, he fished out a scroll and opened it, letting the thin parchment fall to the floor. After a look of agreement, he carefully placed the sturdy wood between the woman's teeth.
Neji first started softly, but then began tightening the bandages around her left thumb. Once he was done, he locked his eyes onto hers and, with a small wince himself, twisted her index finger backwards.
The kunoichi gasped and hollered loudly despite the wood in her mouth. She felt the bones snapping back into place, though it hurt like nothing else. Both physically and mentally.
She had always relied on her hands to get herself ahead in the shinobi world. Never once had something this serious happened to them. They were her tools. Without her hands, without her fingers, she was nothing.
Hence why she allowed Neji to continue fixing up her left hand instead of impaling him.
Once he was done, he solemnly reached for the piece of wood to give her a few minutes to breathe. But the kunoichi only bit down and shook her head, offering him her right hand.
"This one will be worse," he warned. "You almost got it literally burnt off. Most of the skin is just hanging there by pure chance. I won't be able to be gentle as the last time. Are you sure you don't want a break?"
She only shoved the hand closer.
He smiled lightly in understanding before lowering his head, focusing on the task at hand. He began to try to put the fingers back in their place, yet the blood was gushing out too intently and he even doubted there was enough muscle in there to keep everything together. There was a good enough chance she could lose that hand if he didn't tie it up right now.
She began squirming uncomfortably before him, soon attempting to pull her hand away. Yet he only clutched her tighter, bruising her unmarred skin. He hurried up, rendering the task even more painful, all while frightfully scanning the area with his Byakuugan. There was somebody approaching.
Finishing, he tied up the last knot and stood up, kicking the remnants of the fire shut. "Someone's coming. Let's get back in that cave."
But the kunoichi was only staring at her bandaged hands, the stick still in her mouth. Her entire body was swaying softly and her eyes were rolling around unseeing. Neji swore under his breath. Silently, he picked her up and dragged her away into the cave, attempting to ignore her moans of pain.
Once he was at the very edge, he gathered her in his arms, pushing her face into the crook of his neck. He could see the intruder coming closer and any sound could alert him now.
"Tenten you have to be quiet," he whispered, brushing her hair back. "Please."
She nodded and finally spat out the piece of wood, once again burying her face in his clothes. Her entire body trembled with agony, threatening to take her into unconsciousness. If it came to battle, Neji would need her help. She couldn't fall asleep now…
Suddenly, the kunoichi felt him quietly raising her face. He then pressed his lips against hers frantically, which instantly stifled her irregular breathing.
He kept his lips onto hers for a few seconds; following the enemy nin as the latter rushed by. Her felt her leaning against him for support, her eyes fluttering close with the intensity of the kiss.
When he was certain that there was no more danger, he reluctantly pulled himself away. She was shivering in his arms, her breaths ragged and uneven. He was silent for the rest of the evening, refusing to answer her when she attempted to talk to him. He was silent when Gai and Lee appeared, disheveled but triumphant. He was silent when they made their way back to Konoha and placed Tenten in custody of the hospital. He was even silent when Tsunade and Hiashi quizzed him about his mission.
Because if he would've spoken, his entire world would've tumbled down.
-End of Flashback-
Tenten was regarding him hesitantly as she repeated her question. "Are we going to spend the rest of our lives like this? Just exchanging a few awkward words and then one of us leaving?"
"Maybe we'll have to," the shinobi replied, twisting the doorknob with every intention of getting out.
She sighed with frustration. "What changed, Neji? You kissed me to shut me up! You're my best friend; I can understand that you wanted to save my life! You don't have to worry about it; I know it meant nothing to you!"
The prodigy only scoffed slightly and released the pale knob, his hands falling to his side. "That's the problem, Tenten. It did change everything."
She cocked her head to the side, suddenly confused. "What do you mean?"
Neji tilted his head to look at her. "A kiss can breach the distance between friendship and love."
As soon as he had spoken the words he left, his robes fluttering behind him as the door shut, cutting him from Tenten's view. But the girl was still staring at the blank spot he had left, an unimaginably big smile glued upon her features.
"Neji…" she whispered to herself, leaning back down on the covers. "I really do hope you come back soon. We have more than enough to tell each other for next time. I promise it won't be awkward the slightest."