Disclaimer- I do now own any of the Naruto characters or the concept of racing.
Tenten continued gaping at the face in the hole made by the lamp. Sakura joined in the gaping until she realized that the phone was still on and told the land lord the situation.
"You…You…" Tenten managed to sputter.
The 'old grouch' nodded, "Yes, me, though I'm not really surprised seeing you by seeing your antics." He continued, "I'm coming next door to assess the damage from there. Open the door." The face disappeared and knock was heard the door. Tenten considered not opening the door, but apparently he predicted this fact by knocking even harder and more consistently.
She peered towards the hole and sighed. Opening the door, she faced the demons of past demons.
"Well…I didn't think I'd see you so quickly," he noted, "Of course, you had to be up to no good." He didn't wait for her to let him in and walked straight towards the hole, "How did this happen?"
She responded dully, "The lamp fell over."
He gave her one of the many long looks, "The lamp… fell over?"
"YES!!" She glared at him, "I'm not lying!"
Just like before, he ignored her and pulled out a camera and started taking pictures.
"Why are you doing that?" Tenten asked.
For a while she thought he wouldn't answer, when suddenly he responded, "For future reference when the Land lord decides to charge me for the bill. I can prove that it's your fault."
She considered punching him when he suddenly turned around at the sound at the door.
Tenten quickly put the fist behind her back hoping he wouldn't notice.
The door burst open and the land lord came in.
"Ah…How is everyone?" He grinned widely and immediately diverted his attention to the two girls.
Tenten and Sakura quickly covered up as much skin as possible.
"Bad" the old grouch now ignored him and continued with his business.
"Hello, Mr. Land lord, feeling a tad bit sick." Sakura resisted the temptation to get out her spare picks she brought home and test them.
He gasped and quickly grabbed Sakura's hands, "Just call me Jiriaya and that's terrible! We must make you feel better immediately!"
Now Tenten ignore him as well, the less she had to deal with him the better.
Sakura struggled to divert his attention where it should be, "Don't you want to see where the damage is?"
He blinked, "Isn't it right here, darling?"
She blanched at darling and Tenten gagged in sympathy.
Sakura determined directed him towards the hole, "Right here."
Jiriaya looked at the hole and tsked, "That is quite some damage. I'm afraid you'll have to pay for the damage yourself."
"How much should it cost?" Tenten asked. She could feel her wallet wilting as she spoke.
He paused and scratched in chin in concentration, "Hmm….I would guess about 1,000."
"EEHHHH!" Sakura and Tenten yelled.
The old grouch, who had been silent the whole time, asked the main question, "Do I have to pay for part of it?"
"Were you responsible?" Jiriaya was stacking up him
"No." He wasn't cracking under Jiriaya.
"Then you don't" They both nodded content to deal with each other as possible.
Tenten whimpered in pain, "Could we pay it in installments or at a discount?"
Jiriaya pondered glazing his eyes over Tenten and Sakura, "Sure, I'll give you a discount." Sakura and Tenten looked at each other in happiness. "Under one condition." Happy moment broken.
Sakura foreseeing doom in their future asked, "What condition?"
"Both you," pointing to Sakura and Tenten, "and you," addressing the old grouch, who was not pleased in any way for being part of the condition, "have to stay the entire time while it is being fixed."
All three of them started to protest. Jiriaya held up a hand to silence them, "That is my agreement. If so done, both rents will be decreased for a year. Then afterwards it is up for you to decide."
Tenten was confused, "Decide what?"
Jiriaya smiled, "You'll see."
Soon after the land lord left, leaving the old grouch, Tenten, and Sakura to decide.
Animosity was evident by the way they sat; the old grouch on one side and Tenten and Sakura on the other.
Quiet angry glares filled the room. Tenten glared at the old grouch. He glared at Tenten. Sakura glared at the hole. The hole glared at Old Lampy. Old Lampy was dead, so it didn't glare at anyone.
"…I'm for the plan if you are," Tenten continued to glare at the old grouch. She paused to realize she didn't even know his name, "Umm…what's your name?"
He continued to give her a cold look, "Neji Hyuuga."
"Sakura Haruno," Sakura responded and continued to introduce Tenten, "Tenten. Just Tenten."
Neji paused a moment to take in a deep breath, "So Sakura and Just Tenten, are you willing to go along with that madman's plans?"
"At least we agree on one thing," Tenten muttered.
Sakura gave her a reprimanding look, "Tenten…"
She rolled her eys, "Fine," she directed her attention back to Neji Hyuuga, "Hyuuga, we're a little short on cash-"
Neji didn't hesistate to take an opening, "If your grocery bill is always like that, then I can see why."
Tenten gritted her teeth and resisted ripping his head (or atleast his hair) off with her bare hands. Sakura continued for Tenten, "The point is, we'd appreciate it if you'd comply with us just until its fixed then we'll get out your hair."
Reading Tenten's mind, Sakura stopped her before Tenten could…comment, for a nicer word, on Neji's particularly long girly hair.
Neji considered for a moment, "Fine, I'll agree to it," Tenten waited for it and knew exactly his next words and mouth with him, "Under one condition."
Neji noticed her doing so and gave her another of his favorite, raise your eyebrow look. She rolled her eyes in response.
Sakura, not wanting to lose on the deal, barrel rolled him, "Great, we'll cover up the hole so we can't see another and we'll both keep it down and ignore one another," Neji didn't bother responding to this, "I work outside so you'll have no problem with me. Tenten works from here, so she'll be here if there are any problems."
"She'll probably be the problem," Neji thought and forced himself to pay attention.
Sakura noticed where Neji was looking and put a mental note in her head, "Mr. Old Grouch has a thing for Tenten…interesting."
"So we'll work from there, agreed?"
Neji tersely nodded and got up, "I'll go the store and get some thick stock paper to cover it up."
Sakura politely smiled, "Thank you," and nudged Tenten to do the same.
Tenten complied, but he could tell that it was unwilling done and that she'd rather toss him off a cliff herself rather than wholeheartedly mean it.
The contracter came in and named the price.
"That'll be about 750."
Tenten blinked in surprise, "Wow, that's less than I thought it would be."
He nodded understandingly, "Though it looks like a lot of damage, it's really not that much. It's just mainly caulking. It should be done in a couple of days."
That was one of the best news she had heard in days.
The contracter continued, "We'll start tomorrow at 8, yeah?"
She nodded, "Perfectly fine. I'll be here all day."
He nodded and tipped his hat at her on the way out.
This wouldn't be so hard.
That night, Sakura and Tenten's apartment was quieter than usual.
Tenten was in a middle of a big idea and Sakura was just plain exhausted.
"12 kids, too many cavities," she moaned before falling on the couch sleeping.
Tenten sat next to the hole and scribbled and wrote down quickly, muttering her ideas out loud.
"Roommates, hole, hmm…should she be blond?"
"…do you always mutter to yourself?" A voice came from the other side of the hole.
Tenten glared at the hole, "I thought we'd do best to ignore each other."
"Yeah, but you're muttering kind of loud."
She frowned, "Sorry," not sounding sorry at all.
Neji, on the other side, considered leaving it be, but debated, this was a lot more interesting than anything on TV, "What is that you do again?"
"I'm a mangaka."
This came as a surprise to him, "Really? What kind?"
He remembered back when at all the manga his cousin read, "What are some of your popular works?"
Tenten pulled the sheet up and poked her head in, "Your awfully nosy, aren't you?"
Neji shrugged, "I decided you're more interesting than TV."
She returned one of his looks, even though he couldn't see it, "Thanks that's such a compliment."
"You still haven't answered my question."
He blinked in surprise, "That's a really popular series. My younger cousin reads that a lot. You're really famous, aren't you?"
Tenten turned away and shrugged, "Kind of, I'm working on a new series right now."
"Really?" He looked through at the scribbles she was doing, "That's really good. What's it about?"
"I haven't really worked it out yet," Tenten said, unconsciously relaxing, "I usually do my characters first before the plot."
"That seems like fun work," Neji noted how she lit up when she talked about her work.
"It is," she responded easily, "How is it working at a grocery store?"
"Not as interesting as being a mangaka," he noted now dull it sounded out loud saying that you worked at a grocery store, "It has its low and high points."
She raised an eyebrow, "Which are?"
He smirked, "I don't have to go anywhere to get my shopping done and I get a discount, but I constantly have to deal with old ladies trying to find dates their daughters or nieces."
Laughing, she put down her tablet, "That sounds like torture."
"It's not that bad," he responded, "It sounds fun being your own boss, in a way."
She leaned against the wall, "It's alright, though it gets kind of lonely being by yourself most of the time," she laughed, "You develop some bad habits."
Neji closed his eyes and relaxed, "Such as?"
"Talking to yourself and mumbling," Tenten couldn't help tossing in that last part.
"Well, I guess I deserved that," Neji looked up towards the clock and realized how late it was.
Tenten on the other side noticed as well, "Wow, it's really late, isn't it? Well, Hyuga-san, I guess I better let you get some rest before dealing with more old ladies tomorrow."
Somehow Neji felt weird being called Hyuga-san by her, "You can just call me Neji"
He paused and listened tensely for her response.
"Well, ok then…Neji."
Somehow that felt right.
"Good night, Tenten."
To her surprise, they actually came at 8, just like they said. The promply got to work and construction was going well under way and the hole was half filled. Tenten's story juices were flowing and she was in the creative zone.
It was only when she faintly heard a door open when she snapped out of her drawing. She turned expecting to see Sakura, but no one was there.
She leaned her ear towards the hole and heard shuffling going on. So that's where the sound came from.
She stretched, "Perfect, at this rate I can send in the first chapter next week." She ambled into the kitchen realizing how hungry she was and that she couldn't remember when she last ate. After debating between some not so fresh chinese take-out or some healthy yogurt, she pulled a yogurt out of the fridge she munched while she leaned back on her little station looking at her work.
"Hmmm….maybe Haruka should date another guy before getting with Aiki…I think I should change his name…maybe-"
Suddenly a voice interrupted her mumbling. "Neji."
She looked towards the hole, "Having a sense of pride is good, but being egoistic is kind of bad."
"Neji is a much better name than Aiki."
Tenten paused mentally, replaying her conversation in her head, "How long have you been listening to me?"
"Chapter next week."
She frowned towards the hole, "Didn't they tell you eavesdropping is bad?"
Neji smirked on the other side, "Yes, but I wasn't always a good child, growing up."
"I can tell."
"Look who's talking, grocery racing?"
Tenten sweatdropped, "Was it that easy to tell?"
"The whole store could hear your starting call."
"I bet you've never tried it, so don't diss it unless you've tried it."
He paused at her choice of words, "How old are you again?"
Same age, "No reason, and I don't think I'll be trying grocery shopping any time soon."
"You're missing out on a lot of fun."
The hole was getting smaller and smaller and her story was getting more done and done.
Sakura was coming later and later every day.
"Maybe she's finally having a life," Tenten thought out loud.
"So are you claiming that you have a life?"
Tenten jolted, "Geez, next time tell me when you're entering a conversation!" She looked at the clock to double check, 10 am, "What are you doing here? Aren't you supposed to be at work?"
"So what are you planning on doing all day then?" Wouldn't it be weird if she said something totally embarrassing while he was around?
"Relax and enjoy listening to my neighbor talk to herself all day."
"Really?" Was he serious? Great, she had to mentally edit everything that came out of her mouth.
"Really," this was a much better plan than meditating.
Tenten had to warn him, "If you hear anything weird, ignore me."
"Like everything else you say isn't."
She pouted, "Hey! That's mean, but seriously, you should do more on your day off. They probably come rarely."
She was right. This was the first day in 3 years that he willingly took off. This wasn't a good sign.
When she didn't immediately respond, he became concerned.
A knock came at his door. He was about to ignore it, more concerned about the lack of response than anything, but the knocking persisted. Annoyed, he slammed the door open, revealing Tenten. He quickly hid is annoyed expression and surprise.
"What are you doing?"
Tenten went right in, "Having a life. Come on, get your stuff, we're going out."
"Out?" Out as in a date or out as with friends…quite a question.
She rolled her eyes, "No, in," when he had picked his stuff up, she pushed him outside, "Of course, outside! I want to go get some ice cream."
"Ice cream," he repeated daftly, what was going on? And could someone please make a dictionary translating this girl? "What about your apartment?"
"The construction workers left a while ago. They said it's almost done."
What was this pressure in his chest? Neji pondered, "So where are we going?"
"How is it?" Tenten eagerly asked Neji, licking her double chocolate ice cream cone.
He shrugged, "Pretty good."
Tenten sighed, "Though I wish you'd have gotten something besides vanilla. Vanilla's good, but it's so plain."
"Then do you want to give me yours?"
Tenten held her cone protectively, "No way. This is mine. Mine I tell you!"
"Not even a little?"
When Neji got home that day, he saw that the hole was completely fixed. That's when he realized the silence in the room. It was…too quiet.
He turned on the TV and watched it for a bit. Somehow it was just all irritating. He turned on some music and tried to relax. Minutes passed as his irritation didn't lessen. Finally he just got irritated and went to sleep, or at least tried to.
Two hours later of tossing and turning, opened his window and leaned against the window.
What was up with him?
-Bang Bang- He thudded his head against the window. This was so stupid.
"Umm…what are you doing?"
He turned to see Tenten curiously looking at him and realized what he looked like, "Errr…releasing stress? What are you doing?"
Tenten didn't seem to notice that it was a lame excuse, "Well, I was just finished up my new story while I heard thumping. At first I thought some pigeons ran into my window on accident. It happens sometimes," she answered to his questioning look, "but then it turns out it was you. Did you see that they fixed the hole?"
"Yeah," he lamely replied. Neji! Why aren't you saying something smart, he reprimanded himself. "So how did your story go?"
Tenten grinned happily, "I think is going to be absolutely great! I'm going to send it in tomorrow."
He slightly smiled, "What's it called?"
She tilted her head and softly smiled, "Moon's shine."
He quickly turned red and tried to hide it, "So as a celebration, do you want to go out?"
She looked at him surprised, "Out?"
Smirking, he copied her words, "No, in. Of course out."
"Are you going to go shopping any time soon?"
Looking at him questionably, "No, why?"
"So I don't have to be there to see you go grocery racing."
"And also to see you afterwards and maybe do something."
Tenten asked the key question, "Together?"
Neji seriously looked her in the eye, "Together."
She feigned nonchalant, "I could go for that."
"By the way I was serious about the whole telling me when you're going shopping."
Finally made a two-shot! yay!!
I think I want to make another two-shot...maybe a SasuSaku one...
Well, I'll think about it.
NinjaPower signing out!