Surprise! A new Fic!!!

And I really hate the title. No kidding. It stinks, I KNOW. But I got it from this quote:

Politics is war without bloodshed while war is politics with bloodshed.

- Mao Zedong, "On Protracted War" (May 1938)

Yeah, if you know anything about Mao Zedong, he was the leader of the communist party in China. But yeah, he is right with that quote up there. :?

Speaking of China, guess what my new fic is about? Well, if you don't know then you didn't read the description, my friend.

But here you go: A political and historical AU. Neji Hyuga, an ambassador of Japan, is sent to meet with the Empress of China and build trust and essentially, a pact, that will unite the two countries. However, one object stands in front of Hyuga's way: TenTen Yue, the Empress's advisor and unofficial bodyguard. To gain the trust of both women, Neji will have to take unprecedented measures and risks. Even, perhaps, something he isn't willing to give over.

Cheesy? You betcha, but I was a little crazy when I wrote it. XD

But I'm really, really excited about this because I've never written anything like it before (well, at least in FanFiction). :D SO I'm really looking forward to this. :D

Disclaimer: Kishimoto-sama owns this. Jeez.


Ichi.

Neji Hyuga was tired of traveling.

The boat that had shipped him from Japan to the coastline port city of Qingdao, China, had smelled repulsively fishy and furthermore made it impossible for him to scrub the repugnant smell from his skin.(1)

In Qingdao he had boarded a train that was currently en route to Beijing, the capital city of China and where the Empress Dowager resided in the Imperial City.

Fatigued and exhausted from this very, very long journey, Neji Hyuga had barely anything else to think about other than his intended task that weighed heavily on his brain.

Absently, Neji picked up the glass box that held the Empress Dowager's gift.

Neji's thumb caught the clasp and the lid unlocked.

He did not dare touch the present inside, it was much too valuable to risk fingerprints, but he stared at it carefully.

It was a porcelain kyoto flower, perfectly sculpted from the hands of Japan's finest artist.(2)

Not only was it a symbol of Japan, but it was also responsible for giving the Empress Dowager her name.

Neji took another fleeting glance at the carefully crafted flower before closing the lid.

Beijing draws ever closer, thought Neji as the train rumbled into the golden-lit afternoon.

~ . ~

TenTen Yue was rushing to the Empress's quarters for the third time that day.

It wasn't normal for her to be so late, and it was unheard of that she had accomplished threefold in a single day. Tardiness spoke volumes of a person's character.

Reaching for the brass of the doorhandle, TenTen charged in, not bothering to knock.

The Empress Dowager turned from her place at her desk.

"Oh, good, TenTen," she said, sounding relieved as she stood to full height.

TenTen did not smile as she briskly strode over to the Empress, holding out the sheaves of papers she'd been holding.

"I think Jin is holding out on me with those Korea reports. But I'm sure I can persuade a bit further—!"

"TenTen," said the Empress shortly, holding up a hand to stop her.

When she was sure TenTen was listening, the Empress continued.

"It's fine about the reports. I do not need them right now. How soon is the Ambassador to arrive?"

TenTen thought, basing his reported arrival in Qingdao and how long the train ride would take.

"The Ambassador should be in Beijing in two hours, Empress."

The Empress nodded approvingly.

"Good. I will need you to check his room to assure it's properly taken care of and then I need you to make sure everything is prepared or almost done for the banquet."

TenTen nodded and bowed in respect.

The Empress rolled her eyes.

"For the love of God, TenTen, will you stop doing that? We've been friends for thirteen years, TenTen. It's ridiculous that you keep up this bowing and formal traditions. Even though I'm Empress, I was your friend first."

The Empress sighed.

"All right, Sakura. I'll take care of it."

The Empress smiled.

"That's better."

~ . ~

Steam rolled through the train station as Neji Hyuga stepped off of the train.

He looked left and right, apparently searching for an escort.

He needn't have bothered.

A short and stout man with much facial hair stepped up to him, assessing the tall man before him.

"Ambassador Hyuga?" he queried in a low voice.

Neji nodded and placed his hand available to shake.

The portly man shook.

Neji noted that his grip was firm.

"I am to be your escort to the Imperial City. My name is Chao Lin."

Neji nodded again in assent, and Chao began to lead him out of the station.

It was nighttime now, and some of the lampposts outside the station burned Neji's eyes.

"Was your journey satisfactory, Ambassador Hyuga?"

Neji grimaced, recalling the smelly fish boat.

"It was very long," Neji ultimately answered. "But it was acceptable enough. I am anxious to meet with the Empress."

Chao knowingly nodded.

"Yes, that is not surprising. You will meet with her soon. She is preparing a banquet tonight in your honor."

Neji did not seem surprised to hear this.

"I hope she did not go to too much trouble," started Neji, raising an eyebrow.

Chao shook his head and made a face, as if this idea seemed distasteful.

"No. It will just be a very small, quaint gathering."

Neji's eyes narrowed. He believed the Empress of China would go to much rather extravagant lengths for this banquet than "small" and "quaint".

~ . ~

TenTen sighed and collapsed into a conveniently placed chair.

She'd just finished making sure the silverware was placed correctly and shining, without spots or fingerprints.

And she still had to check the Ambassador's room to make sure everything was in order.

She sighed again but got up from her chair, ignoring her already aching feet.

The Ambassador's room was just upstairs, to the left of the landing.

TenTen glared at the stairs.

"I swear, if you trip me up, you're going to die," she muttered as she dragged a foot up.

After that first step went without error, TenTen charged up them, knowing that the sooner she finished, the sooner she'd be done with the Empress's instructions.

She flitted to the Ambassador's door, turning the doorhandle and entering swiftly.

TenTen examined the room.

It was sort of small, but acceptable since it was only one person staying.

The inside interior was much like the rest of the palace, red and gold, with rich embroidery. There was a painting on the far wall of Wu Zetian, the infamous concubine turned empress.(3)

TenTen smiled, remembering the story.

Eventually, though, her attention diverted once more to why she was there in the first place.

TenTen ran a finger across the mantle of the fireplace, intending to discover dust.

The mantle was clean after a further examination.

TenTen nodded, pleased and continued onward to the bed.

There were no lumps. Good.

TenTen picked up the four pillows, distrait as she plumped them more.

Her eyes scanned the rest of the room, looking for anything else to target.

Fixing the bedcovers once more, TenTen crouched to the ground to assure there was no dust under the bed.

Not that the Ambassador would worry with such things, she thought.

There was no dust to be found in TenTen's eyesight.

Satisfied, she stood to full height and left the room.

~ . ~

Neji was not used to such grandeur.

Yes, Japan had its palaces and such, but nothing on the scale of this.

China exceeds us in overcompensating for decorating, thought Neji, irritated.

Chao led him to the gate of the Imperial City, giving him a history lesson all the while.

"This gate is called the Gate of Heavenly Peace. . . There are six gates into the Imperial City, in either direction and two beside this gate. . ."

Chao proceeded to name them all, and Neji was about to tell the man to shut it, already, but never got the chance.

They had just passed the Meridian Gate, the gate leading into the actual imperial palace of China.(4)

Beyond the gate was a large square, and before them sat an enormous gate, just beyond it a palace.

Neji swallowed.

Despite its size, the magnificent architecture not only fascinated him, but also intimidated him.

Well, you're not in Japan anymore, his head reminded him.

Neji smirked a little, though he was sure it turned into a sickened scowl.


(1) Qingdao is a real city in China. It is presently a major city that recognizes itself in industry, a naval base, and major seaport.

(2) Kyoto flowers are commonly known as sakura blossoms.

(3) This is true. Wu Zetian was a concubine and eventually did become an Empress Dowager by the deaths of a consort and an empress. Very messy story there. I suggest you research it. ;)

(4) You might now it as the Forbidden City. :)

Oh, man, what have I gotten myself into? I think this started too fast. . . but my head is just swimming with all of this stuff I've learned and I just had to write it in. I don't know.

PLEASE review. I need feedback for this to make sure I'm doing this all right. I'm kind of anxious, and I just need to know what I'm doing wrong, right, etc.