STORY: Green – um… yeah… I suck at titles. If you guys can come up with a better one I'd be delighted. But for now, I'm sticking with the first thing that made semi-sense.

RATING: T (for now, it might go up or down. Idk… I can't write lemons so it'll probably stay T)

QUICK SYNOPSIS: She's tried so hard for so long to become something great for him and now she might have made it. Watch your favorite Weapon's Mistress "blossom". A Neji/Ten fic.

BLAH BLAH BLAH – I DO NOT OWN NARUTO – BLAH BLAH BLAH

ENJOY!!

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An unearthly silence permeated the dense woods. Emerald vines snaked across the thick trunks of hundred year old trees and luscious green moss covered the ground, causing the entirety of the scenery to appear as a rainbow of greens – from an olive color to the brightest of limes. The only thing giving away her position was this strange jade scene. She'd thought that she'd dressed appropriately for hiding herself in the woods – a long-sleeved black shirt, dark camouflage pants, thin black gloves, and black hiking boots adorned her petite figure – but her ostentatious mask gave her away.

Damn ANBU procedures. This mask will be the death of me! She thought, her gloved fingers going up to stroke the glittery red face of a dragon. In a normal situation, the dragon would have appeared fearsome; its scales had a realistic metal shine, the rim of its eyes were pure gold and filled with malice that only a skilled artist could have captured (the pupils were, in fact, the woman's own dark eyes – her only view into the world around her), and its teeth shone with even more brilliance then the rest of the mask. However, in the greenery of the forest it seemed almost ridiculous and a tad bit… Christmasy.

She was aware of this too. The calm and collected façade she normally gave off was filled with a distracted aura as she continued to touch her mask self-consciously. She wished she could take it off, but the instant the thought entered her mind it was erased as the treacherously professional side of her took over, reciting the ANBU handbook by heart: One does not remove their mask. The mask is to cover not just your identity, but to protect Konoha from being implicated in the case that you are completing a secret mission. If you remove your mask under any circumstances, other then life-or-death circumstances, you will be pulled from the ANBU ranks. In extreme cases, some jounin have been demoted even further and there is one case in which a shinobi was exiled from the village for this offense.

She snorted at that. I wonder what Neji would say if I told him my "reprimanding voice" sounded just like him? And then she giggled.

The instant the high, tinkling sound escaped her, she knew she was in trouble. Silence had been essential – crucial – to finishing her mission alive. "Damn it all!" She swore and leaped just as twenty ninja seemed to magically appear below her on the forest floor.

Her leap was just in time. The vines that had been twisted around her branch constricted, snapping it in two. She didn't have time to be shocked at this level of mastery, as her flight pattern intersected with a rain of various weaponry sent her way by the waiting enemy ninja below.

You don't defeat a weapon's mistress with weapons. She thought, a smile tugging at her lips as she lifted her hands into the air. The weapons halted, their shining steel beautiful in the eerie forest. She made no signs, as none were needed – she had long ago mastered the techniques of her clan, which included a complete, hand-sign-free mastery over weapons. The instant the barrage of weapons halted, she flipped in the air and landed nimbly on the ground, her chakra extending outwards and flipping the weapons as well so that they fell towards their owners. The ninja on the ground hurriedly dispersed. Some protected themselves with hastily made chakra-shields. Others ran for their lives, only to be cut down as the knives and shuriken rained down by the hundreds.

The remaining 12 men and women shook themselves off. The weapons mistress flashed a smile behind her blood-red mask and continued her fight. At least the Kazekage respects me enough to give me a real challenge – I guess he knew that no ordinary ninja could have stolen his famous scrolls.

A kounichi with a beautiful face and flowing black hair attacked her first. Our hero snorted and blocked the girl's blow without much difficulty. "Is that all you've got?" She taunted the girl, and was rewarded with a well-placed kick in the stomach. As she was knocked back, her breath gone for a moment before she recovered, she realized she'd underestimated the girl. "I guess you got to be a shinobi not just for your good looks, huh?"

The black-haired beauty didn't reply. Her red eyes were narrowed dangerously though as she fought. Tenten – as you might have guessed our hero is – smiled at the girl's determination. She reminds me of… me….

That stray thought didn't keep her from quickly dispatching of the girl, a well-placed blow to her head knocking her into a blissful unconsciousness.

Now the real fight came. They came at her by the threes, their faces filled with the hunger for blood and Tenten was forced to kill in order to avoid being killed.

Twenty minutes later, they were all down. Only the black-haired girl was alive, her fall into unconsciousness saving her from the cruel unknown of death. Tenten might be a skilled shinobi, but she was no murderer. She would kill only if her life was in danger and only then. She would NOT kill someone who couldn't defend themselves, as it was in the case of the sleeping girl.

She sighed as she took in her surroundings, ears perked for any sound of more enemies. Slowly, as she realized she was out of danger (for now at least) she relaxed. Her hard, lean, muscles lost most of their tension and she allowed her body to feel the tiredness that she'd been holding at bay until she finished with her battle. The weariness seeped in and she had to grab onto a tree to keep from collapsing. She shuddered when she realized the tree she had taken support on was no longer green, but a sickening red color. And it wasn't the only thing – the entire scene before her was nothing more then a massacre. Blood was sprayed across the luscious emerald of the forest, the glistening liquid causing bile to rise up in her throat.

I will not puke – I will not puke – I will NOT puke! She thought as she swallowed down her disgust. She'd always hated this part of being a skilled ninja. She was in it for the challenge and because she wanted to protect her village and those she loved, but never had she been in it for the death and destruction she had to cause. As she viewed the mangled bodies, most with weapons sticking into vital body parts (except for one unlucky fellow who died when she had ducked a chakra-propelled kick sent at her and had been hit with it instead), she was reminded of the reasons why so many in her profession went to counseling or simply went insane.

Finally, she turned away. No one could see behind her mask, so if anyone had seen her they would have probably assumed she was dismissing the dead, but in reality she was crying. It was her job, she knew, to kill, but that didn't mean she had to like all of it, especially not this… horror… this plain and simple repulsive scene.

A swift prayer was sent up to whatever God was out there for the souls of those she'd been forced to kill and then she was on her way. A trail of weapons, almost of their own accord, followed her. Only those trained to spot chakra in its many forms would have noticed the girl's unnaturally chakra-charged aura or the strange strings that strapped each weapon to her.

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"Rising Twin Dragons – Metal warriors!" The cry echoed in the almost empty clearing. Tenten's hands moved rapidly together in a series of hand symbols, her chocolate eyes lighting up as two ferocious metal dragons appeared behind her. These were nothing like the pathetic smoke-and-mirror ones she used in her genin days, but the most powerful and difficult of their kind to summon. One was silver, the other gold and both were intertwined in a breath-taking array of shining and deadly splendor.

Her opponent, a long-haired Hyuga, stared with eyes alight in joy as well as fear. As the giant creatures untangled themselves, she gasped and stuttered out, "T-tenten! T-That's spectacular! You did it!"

Yes, the long-haired Hyuga was none other then the heir to the Hyuga legacy – the timid Hinata. Her violet hair was tied back into a high ponytail – a trick she had to revert to so as to keep the long locks from covering her eyes during a battle. Her wide, innocent eyes were the classic silver of the Hyuga clan, but filled with less malice and anger then the other Hyugas Tenten had met over the years. A simple pair of black capris and a violet long-sleeve turtleneck were her modest clothes, though on her mature form they looked spectacular. Being all of eighteen year old, she should have moved on from her childish crush on Naruto but had yet to outgrow the love and admiration she'd felt for him.

Tenten didn't smile back at her friend. Instead, her face was concentrated upwards, towards her metal creation. This had been her final step in her personal training; the last advancement before she ran out of clan techniques and had to move on to mere "normal" shinobi techniques.

So long… I've waited so long for this… and finally… she shivered from the thrill of it all. Ever since her pathetic attempt at the Chuunin exams to show she was a worthy ninja, she had been working day and night to become stronger.

She wasn't like Sakura, who had the privilege to train with the almighty Hokage-sama, Tsunade. And she wasn't like Neji or Hinata, both of whom had someone alive to teach them the ways and special abilities of the clan they both belonged to. Instead, she was forced to study for 2 years, becoming a bookworm, in an attempt to discover the scrolls and the secret techniques of her own dead clan.

Finally, after she had decided she'd discovered all that there was to know about the abilities she might possess, she began secretly training herself with only one close friend nearby to make sure she didn't do anything stupid (Hinata). She wanted her new-found power to be a surprise. She wanted to show everyone in Konoha that she wasn't pathetic or a push-over. She wanted to show them that she was one hell of a ninja. Someone worthy of the title of Jounin and even of ANBU. Someone worthy and strong enough to protect them and all that they stood for.

A small part of her had nagged her in her head, telling her that it wasn't just Konoha she worked hard for. She'd shaken that voice off, telling it to go away. But it always seemed to pop up whenever she fought him – or, to be more precise, whenever she lost to him.

Neji.

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He didn't know where she was. He never knew where she was anymore. Not just Tenten, but Hinata as well. It's like girls have this secret girls-only world they disappear to just as you decide you want to see them or need to talk to them. He thought, his stoic face not betraying his feelings to anyone, and then when you don't want them around and you'd just rather be to yourself… BAM… they show up.

He snorted, his mind wandering to all the times Tenten had done just that to him. Their first time as a team he'd been the first person to arrive at their morning meeting. He'd been sitting alone, meditating in the peaceful quiet, when all of a sudden – "HI! MY NAME'S TENTEN! YOU MUST BE NEJI! ISN'T IT GREAT THAT WE'RE ON THE SAME TEAM?"

He had not leapt up in surprise nor screamed like a girl, as his instincts were telling him to. He was a Hyuga, and Hyugas never showed such undignified emotions. Instead, he'd simply opened a single eye, his Byakugan activated to make them seem more intimidating, and said, "No. It isn't. Go away."

She'd deflated quickly, a pout forming on her childish face. He had closed his eyes again, but the Byakugan allowed him to study her. He saw the lack of very toned muscles, though he noticed she did have a slender and agile body. He took in her hair, tied up in twin buns on the top of her head, and approved of the hairstyle. His eyes saw, and registered, the weapons she had expertly concealed all over her lithe form. No one else could have noticed them, except he was a genius as well as a Byakugan user and these things did not escape his notice. Everything about her was, surprisingly… appealing. Not in a sexual way, of course (though she was not ugly), but he had never met someone he had approved of so quickly. Especially a girl.

Everyone else had too many faults: too shy, too fat, too ugly, too impatient, too filthy, too loud, etc. But this girl... there was nothing he could find about her that he did not approve of. She was sensible, he could tell, for her outfit was simple and suited the lifestyle she had chosen to lead. She was intelligent. And she was obviously skilled with weaponry or combat of some sort. He found a strange emotion welling up in him, one he was not used to. Is this what it's like to… actually like someone?

Of course, then she had to ruin it by leaving. He knew he'd told her too, but now that he'd actually decided to talk to her and figure out more about her, the fact that she'd decided to leave him alone annoyed him. He supposed he deserved it, his cold attitude had never been one for earning him friends, but he found that he was slightly mad at her for leaving him just as he'd decided to explore this new territory called friendship with her.

Now, in present-day Konoha, the two were the best of friends. Though he would rather take a kunai to the heart then admit it, he felt a kinship with her that no one else could awaken in him. Everything about her was so right that he couldn't help but realize he liked her. Even though he could beat her in combat in a heartbeat and even though she was obviously not the strongest or best of the shinobi, he still found himself liking her.

Tenten… he thought with an inward sigh. He just didn't know what to do anymore. He'd risen quickly in the Konoha ranks, from Chuunin to jounin to ANBU within a year, leaving her behind in his haste to prove himself to his Uncle Haishi and to the main branch. And then… he realized he still wasn't satisfied. He couldn't go any higher, but he still found a part of him was missing. A part that he'd never noticed was gone before then.

Her – Tenten – had been left behind by him. And he needed her back. So when he came back from his third disastrous mission (it had succeeded, but his entire team had died excepting him) he had realized he needed to find her again.

She was in the Konoha Library. He had no clue what she was doing in there (she'd acted suspiciously vague when he'd asked and had closed the scroll. The only words he had been able to read were "summon" and "steel". He hadn't asked her again because they'd been too busy catching up), but the instant he'd seen her again he'd felt a wave of… rightness… wash over him. Now that he'd gotten her back in his life things were good again.

Except they weren't. He had known she would rise through the ranks as well, but he hadn't realized she would do it so agonizingly slow. But she did, somehow using only the same techniques she'd used on him when they were just kids, as they'd sparred in the Hyuga training grounds. He'd never understand how she did it, but she had managed it and he wasn't about to complain.

Though he had always wondered about her and her family, he had never asked her much about them. He often wondered why she was so weak. Her mastery of weapons was unusual, to say the least, and he knew she belonged to an ancient clan, but he'd never really figured out the details. If her clan was supposed to be so powerful and ancient, then how come she never improved? Sure, as she grew older she could last longer in battle and she was second as a strategist among the ANBU ranks (loosing only to him) but he figured that her so-called powerful clan would have filled her in on their techniques by now. How could they expect her to survive on the little ammunition they'd given her?

"Neji!" He looked up to see the object of his thoughts coming into view. She was running, her toned legs flying as she ran and leapt at him. He barely had time to bring his hands up to catch her before she flew into his arms.

Neji was not a physical person. Nor was he particularly emotional, but he knew that Tenten was. She felt everything ten-fold. She was good with putting on a mask (after all, she learnt from the best – himself), but she would never disguise any feeling if it needed to be let out. And when she let out, he was usually the one she let out to. He'd been yelled at, punched, stabbed, hugged, and (worst of all) cried to, when she was in one of her moods. But he took it all in stride, letting himself become her one person she could show her true self to. However, this… proximity… was somewhat more disturbing now then it had been back when they were genin.

A hint of pink appeared on his normally pale cheeks as she proceeded to squeeze the life out of him. He could smell her hair and it smelled just like the fresh scent of strawberries combined with sweat and metal. He loved her smell, as it was both familiar and comforting. He inhaled, burying his nose in her head, letting his arms pull her close.

"Neji?" She pulled back, her milk-chocolate eyes wide at the unfamiliar feel of his arms around her.

He froze, realizing he'd unconsciously allowed himself to show his feelings, and immediately let go of her. She fell as he leapt back, tumbling to the ground and landing on her knees. A surprised, "OW!" was the only thing she said.

Unlike her, he was reserved. His feelings didn't come out no matter who he was around. She was the only person who'd seen him honest-to-goodness smile and he didn't regret that, but he knew there was a limit to the emotions he should show even her. And this emotion here, this emotion of caring, was not one of them. He was Hyuga Neji and Hyuga Neji didn't care. He was emotionless, impassive, and a human ice-cube.

Just because you're a human ice cube doesn't mean you can't help her up, you know? His inner voice retorted, breaking into his incoherent train of thought.

"Oh." He said aloud and he hastily came forward to help her up, his calloused hand gripping her gloved one and pulling until she was up. She dusted herself off, a brilliant smile touching the corners of her mouth as she did so.

"And what are you so happy about?" He demanded gruffly, attempting to cover for his slip of emotion a second ago.

"Oh… nothing." She said, waving her hand in a dismissive gesture.

His eyes narrowed, knowing she was lying. He hated being lied to, especially by the one person he considered himself closest to.

"Tenten…" he began, his voice dangerous.

She interpreted his unease at her lie, but was more stubborn then previously thought – "Okay… so it is something, or should I say someone. I just can't tell you what it is… yet." Insert another mysterious smile, "But you will find out eventually! I just need to work on it some more."

He nodded and "hned" his approval of her answer. She wasn't lying to him this time, though he did wish he knew what it was that made her so excited. Certainly not…

No… he thought… there's no way she would have a… He shook his head at his folly. But she did say "someone" his treacherous inner voice muttered, so maybe she did find a lover on her latest mission. She was away for 2 months. He cringed away from that thought, shutting down the hated inner before it could get in another word.

"Aww Neji!" She cried, thinking the angry look in his eyes was directed towards her and not towards his inner self, "It's not that I don't trust you. I just really want to spend time working on this without you…" she stopped as she realized what she said. Hurt appeared in his silver orbs and she hastily spoke to correct her mistake, "… NO! Not, not like that! I mean… I want to surprise you. I can't tell you yet because it's supposed to be a surprise!"

He nodded and turned, careful to keep his face as impassive as possible. He wouldn't… couldn't… let her know that she'd hurt him.

"Neji-kun! Please! Don't take it like that…" She begged, her nineteen year old body face wasn't as cute as her ten year old one, but she still managed to pull of the pleading look without a hitch. He sighed, knowing he could never resist the look in her eyes.

"Just don't keep me waiting. I don't like secrets – especially ones kept from me." He muttered to her, giving up on being mad or hurt by her secrets.

She immediately brightened up and proposed, "A spar, Neji. We need to go and spar."

He looked at her again. She was dirty and tired, he could tell, but there was an air of confidence about her which he had never felt from her before. She'd always been so self-conscious, despite being a qualified ANBU and a skilled shinobi. Now, it was as if she miraculously fit into her role of a ninja and there was no denying her profession as he took in the muscles he'd never noticed she'd had before as well as the scratches and scars that were distributed all over her small frame.

"Hn…" he said thoughtfully, his eyes still scanning her. He tried to make this look appear professional, as if he was sizing her up, but he realized that halfway through the process he began checking her out. She was gorgeous. No man in his right mind could resist her perfect figure. His eyes traveled up from the glimpse of perfect porcelain skin that showed just below the end of her pants. They slid over the loose khakis, knowing they hid legs as muscled and perfect as the rest of her body, and up to her Ino-worthy stomach and bust (personally, he thought Ino was ugly, but he had to admit she kept a nice form). He gulped as he saw the way her shirt stuck to her body – sweaty from some previous exercise. Then his eyes slid up to her face.

He supposed he shouldn't have been surprised by her looks by now, but it was as if every time he saw her he was seeing her all over again. He never got tired of the cute curve of her pink lips or brightness in her eyes. He took in the slightly round cheeks, noticing how they made her seem young and innocent and her doe-like eyes did nothing to help contradict that assumption. Her hair was always up in her classic twin buns, the stray strands falling into her eyes and framing her picturesque features. He always knew she was beautiful, but it wasn't until recently (since his nineteenth birthday, to be precise) that he truly noticed these things.

"Neji?" her lips moved and he was transfixed on the sight of her scrumptious figure, "um… Neji? Anyone home?" His oogling was stopped as she began snapping in front of him while waving her hand in a crazy attempt to snap him out of his reverie.

"hn… sure. I'll spar with you, but only if you promise me one thing." She looked at him expectantly, waiting for his condition, "If I win, you tell me one thing about yourself that I don't already know. Does that sound fair?"

It was a pathetic attempt to get her to open up to him, and they both knew it, but it sounded so interesting that she couldn't help but agree. Neji had never shown an interest in her personal life before, other then one or two questions about why she was late and if everything was okay on the days she seemed distracted.

They sparred. She lost. The next day, they sparred again. And the next, and the next, and so on.

They hadn't sparred everyday since they were on the same team as genin. Even when she'd become ANBU they'd both been too distracted by their new responsibilities to practice against each other. Now, they renewed that relationship of enemies and friends – each helping the other to become stronger and better little by little.

Just like when they were genin, she always lost. Neji didn't think it was anything out of the ordinary and accepted it, but every now and then he had the strange feeling that she was holding back and it frustrated him so much that he would sometimes be a little tougher then necessary on her.

She took it all in stride. She understood his frustration, as she experienced it often when they'd been genin and he'd held back on hurting her. Now, she was too busy hiding her new techniques from him and the rest of Konoha. She was waiting. Waiting for the perfect time to whip them out and prove to everyone, especially him, that she was no weakling and she knew that the upcoming tests would be perfect for proving her skill.

So for now, she lost. And lost. And lost. And every time she lost, she told him one thing about herself he didn't know. She told him about her childhood dream, about her failures and successes, about missions he'd missed, about her opinions towards politics, about… everything that was completely pointless but somehow seemed relevant for him to know. Despite her desire to tell him everything about her, the one thing she endeavored to keep private was information about her family and her clan as well the practices she put herself through each night to strengthen her techniques.

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"Hey…" huff "Hinata?" huff "Has Neji…" puff "seemed…" CLANG ".. I don't know… different" SCREEEECH "to you lately?" Tenten managed to ask as they practiced in the same small field as before.

It was a month since her completion of the Metal Dragon technique and since then her and Hinata had been meeting every noon until sundown to spar and try out new techniques.

In reality, Tenten was somewhat using Hinata. She knew that the girl possessed the same techniques as Neji and knew that, if she could study Hinata's Byakugan and defeat her, then she could defeat Neji. Hinata was also using Tenten as a way to train herself against one of her main weaknesses – weapons. In hand-to-hand combat the silver-eyed woman excelled, but when it came to protecting herself from a barrage of weapons… well… she needed some practice.

That's not to say that Hinata wasn't a skilled ninja. Quite the opposite, in fact. She had sped through the ranks to become one of Konoha's greatest assets. Her kaiten, however, was weaker then that of Neji's and so she had trouble with blocking long-range attacks such as the ones Tenten was so used to. Ever since Tenten had approached her a year ago with the proposition of training to their mutual benefit, she had been improving at an alarming rate. On her last mission, the shy heiress had managed to create the perfect kaiten and block a group of needles which were flying her way. Never had she been so thrilled with herself.

They sparred now, both using no chakra and practicing hand-to-hand as well as weaponry combat. They used whatever they could to gain the upperhand, just as they would do in an ordinary battle (albeit with no chakra available).

"Yes…" Hinata whipped around with a knife in her hand and stabbed, aiming for Tenten's outstretched arm. The weapon's mistress parried the thrust and twirled, needles flying from the tips of her black gloves to fly in all directions.

Hinata took them in various areas – the poison-tipped barbs embedding themselves in her thighs as well as her back as she turned around to avoid getting hit in the eye. She barely winced as they cut into her deeply. Instead, she turned around with the speed of an enraged demon and leapt into the air, taking advantage of her friend's non-stop twirling, and aimed a kick at her spinning form.

It landed dead on, sending the unfortunate Tenten flying back twenty feet to land with a loud "umph!" in the dirt. Not a second had passed before she managed to recover and sprint back towards her opponent.

Both girls were smiling as they finally ran out of breath and energy. Neither had won, but the battle hadn't been about winning – it had been about the challenge. Uncapping her waterbottle, Tenten poured the contents right onto her head, soaking her muddy and scratched face. Hinata giggled at her friend's antics, but did the same to herself after administering the antidote to the poison that was in her system from Tenten's needle attack. Soon, the two of them were both thoroughly drenched.

Tenten smiled evilly as a thought struck her, "We might as well go swimming seeing as we're already so wet."

Hinata looked puzzled, "But there's no water…" Before she could even complete her sentence, she found herself falling into Konoha's famous Leaf Park Lake. She spluttered as she hit the water, spraying it onto all the unlucky citizens who lounged on the lakeside.

As she resurfaced, stammering her embarrassment and indignation, she saw Tenten. Righteous anger was replaced with humor at the sight of her friend swimming gaily in the pond, as if she hadn't a care in the world.

She shook her head in amusement, still a bright pink from her embarrassment, and trudged out of the lake, wringing out her dark lavender hair. "Hinata?" She froze, like a deer caught in the headlights, as she identified the voice that spoke to her, "What are you doing swimming in Leaf Park Lake? Isn't that like… against the law or something?" Naruto, in all his blonde, shining, glory, was staring at her in puzzlement, his mouth open in surprise and wonder while he nodded towards a sign posted next to the lakeside. It clearly said "NO SWIMMING. Those who choose to ignore this will be fined heavily."

"I didn't know you were the rule-breaker type." Naruto said and she looked from the sign to him in surprise. He looked… impressed. If all it took to make him notice me was breaking the law, then I should've done this years ago.

"W-well… I-I-I… um…" her blush was amplified as she attempted to reply while also attempting to cover up her drenched form. Oh great – I probably look like a wet rat. She thought regretfully and then, resigning herself to embarrassment, she continued her reply, "I didn't exactly p-plan on it. T-tenten-sama managed to trick me into it after our training."

She was surprised to notice he still seemed impressed. She'd thought he would've left by now – bored out of his mind by her unadventurous spirit and her ridiculous stammer. At least, that's what he'd done all the other times.

"Ah… Tenten tricked you into it?" He laughed, his merry face lighting up with mischief as he continued, "Maybe next time we can train together! That way I can be the one going swimming with you instead!"

The blush she'd worn before was nothing to the one which flared up on her face now. She was certain she was about to die of the heat coming from her cheeks, but instead of the faint which she usually used as her escape from the ferocity of her blush, she felt a small amount of strength ooze to the surface of her mind and she managed a slightly-coherent reply, "O-oh course Naruto-kun… I… uh… w-would love to train w-with y-you. I doubt I c-could beat y-you though."

"It's not all about winning! It's about learning and improving. We can both help each other! I'll train with you to make you strong enough to beat Hiashi-sama and you'll train with me so I can learn your style! Yeah?" He gave her a thumbs up – his enthusiasm rivaling that of a hyper Lee's. Hinata, however, found this endearing rather then alarming and graciously accepted with a quiet smile.

When the over-excitable boy had made his exit, screaming something about being hungry and eating ramen, Hinata could do nothing but stand there staring after him in a trance. It wasn't until she was sprayed with water that she realized what she'd done.

"Oh… Oh… I… I-I-I…" she looked at Tenten, who stared back with a wicked glint of amusement in her eyes. "Did you plan this?" She demanded of the weapons mistress.

"Nope, but I must say this day has turned out quite… positive…" She smirked and dived under the surface when Hinata attempted to attack her.

The two friends lay drying out in the sun less then an hour later. Hinata couldn't help but notice that Tenten seemed distracted since Naruto and her had agreed to train together and so Hinata timidly asked, "You aren't mad that I told him I would spar with him? I won't stop my spars with you, I-I just want to be able to show him what I'm capable of. This might be m-my only c-chance…"

Tenten soothed her frantic friend with a shake of her head, "Not at all Hinata! I think it's great that you and Naruto are finally spending time together. You'll win his heart over in no time. I'm just… thinking."

"About…" Hinata prompted.

A faint tinge of pink burned on Tenten's face as she attempted to calmly reply, "Oh… just… Neji."

"Just Neji?" Hinata was amused now, waiting for her friend to explain more, "What about 'just Neji'?"

"um… doyouthinki'mgoodenoughtobeathimnow?"

"Huh?"

"Um… Do you think I could…. You know… beat him now? In a battle…"

"Oh! Yes, definitely. I think you've gained a fair amount of power over this past year. You've learnt so many new tricks that he won't know what to do." Hinata rolled over to stare at Tenten's worried face and said, "You know… if you wanted to impress him… there are easier ways."

Tenten gulped and then glared at the lavender-haired woman next to her, "I am not trying to impress him, I simply aim to… kick his ass…" She laughed evilly and then took her wet locks of ebony hair and fanned them out behind her head like an angel's halo. "I wish… I wish I could be good enough for him though… that's all I've ever wanted. Since we were put on the same team 9 years ago…"

Hinata listened and then frowned, "Tenten… you are more then good enough for him. He's only human, albeit an extremely talented, handsome, perfect human, but still a human. Plus, Neji actually likes you – that's more then anyone else can claim. Don't be so hard on yourself…" She paused and then figured she might as well address the real issue, "He might even love you… if you told him how you really felt."

Tenten leapt to her feet, her cheeks flaming darker then even Hinata's were when talking to Naruto, "I do NOT like that arrogant jerk! I don't love him! I just… I'm tired of being a burden to everyone, especially him! God! – don't speak to me about love! It's a wasted emotion! Especially on someone who could never love me back! Especially towards a human ice cube!"

And then she stormed off, her face flaming red from anger mixed with chagrin. All Hinata could do to was watch as her friend ran away from the one enemy that couldn't be defeated by her precious weapons.

"Someday soon, Tenten… you will have to acknowledge that you love him. He is more capable of love then you might suspect and he isn't going to be able to deal with his feelings if you don't show him how to."

Tenten had stopped dead at the sound of Hinata's soft voice calling out to her, but as soon as she heard the end of her reprimand she continued on. Hinata sighed, thinking about all that the two lovers would miss if they didn't learn to cope with their true feelings. Poor Tenten… Neji would stop the world for you. If only you could see it…

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And that is the end. I had totally planned on a one-shot, but I guess this'll have to be a tad bit longer. Maybe another chapter or so??

I guess we'll see!

Anways, this is one of my first stories so please review! I could do with the criticism/compliments/whatever-you-want-to-say-so-long-as-it's-relevant stuff.

Oh yeah and I apologize to ppl who read my other story, I'm having serious writers block, hence why I wrote this instead of the next chapter. DON'T HATE ME!!