The Leaf Village had been under a constant cover of thick dark clouds; though they threatened to release an onslaught of rain, it seemed they kept billowing in anticipation for something. All the villagers had retired inside their shops, and students were stuck inside at the Ninja Academy. Even the Sensei's had sent their groups home early from training due to the laziness hanging in the air.
Tenten walked slowly, dragging her feet behind her; she was beating the guys butt's today, doing better than ever. She was absolutely annoyed when they had been sent home; Neji had not wanted to do anything, so he practically blocked every one of her kunai. Though she had managed to lodge one right between his legs where he sat; with his hands behind his back. The look on his face was timeless! That thought quickened her pace, and before she knew it, she was standing in front of Neji's house.
The clouds over head threatened to open at any minute; so, deciding against it, she turned away and started down the street.
"It's about to rain," came a soft smooth voice from behind her.
Turning around quickly, Tenten saw Neji leaning lazily in the entrance to his house.
"Any minute now those clouds are going to open and it wont stop raining for weeks." Neji glanced upward; his pale eyes looked like onyx from the darkening sky.
Tenten stared at him, taking in his new sprouted height and lengthening muscles. His eyes slowly came to meet hers just as a warm drop of rain landed on the tip of her nose. Neji smiled.
"What did I tell you," he stood there watching her as a steady down-pour pelted the street. "Are you just going to stand there?"
Tenten hadn't realized that she was still staring in awe at him, motionless. "Um, yes, I'd better be getting home."
"No, that's not what I meant." Neji stepped out from under the entrance and took Tenten's arm gently. "You'll catch cold if you walk all the way home. You can stay here until it eases up."
Nodding, Tenten let Neji lead her into his family's huge house; which had been passed down for many generations. They went up a flight of steps and down a long open hallway that looked out over the courtyard. The coy pond looked so pretty in the rain she thought.
"Make yourself comfortable, there are towels and there is a hot-spring downstairs you are more than welcome to use. My parents are away on business for a few weeks, so feel free to use whatever you want."
They were in a huge bedroom, a guest bedroom, fully equipped with a floor bed, dressers, mirrors, and even a small sink. This was way too much!
"Neji I," She began, but he cut her off.
"It's fine, I don't mind."
Setting her bag down, Tenten wondered over to the dressers and opened them; inside they were packed with towels, sheets, blankets, and various clothes. She would definitely be soaking in the hot-spring later!
"I have dinner going, but I'll have to double the recipe. Come down when you're ready and we'll eat."
"Wait Neji," Tenten called after him. He turned slightly in her direction. "Thank you for this, you know you don't have to."
A smile played at his lips. "Of course I do Tenten, and you know that." Neji turned and left, leaving Tenten flushed in the cheeks.
Later that evening, Tenten was drawn down to the kitchen by a mouth watering aroma that made her stomach growl. Neji had placed out on the bamboo table, two plates filled with white rice and stir-fry, a pair of chop sticks for each of them and what looked like green tea. She ventured slowly in, not wanting to over-step her welcome; but Neji was already motioning for her to sit and have tea. So, without haste, she sat down opposite of him.
"I hope you like it. I've been trying to master my cooking skills. However," he separated his chop sticks swiftly. "The last few attempts did not go so well."
"Why would you say that?" Tenten asked, relishing all the spices that entered her nose.
"Because, everything in all my dishes is completely organic and natural; plus, I made it a point for each dish to do something special."
"Something special?" Tenten's chop stick stopped at her lips, a noodle hanging in mid-air.
"They provide a ninja with whatever nutrition they are lacking that might inhibit him on a mission. Although, when I try to add something essential, it always tastes weird." Neji stared morosely at his plate.
"But this is wonderful!" Tenten had taken a bite of the stir-fry, and was smiling from ear to ear. Neji just stared open mouthed at her in amazement. "I don't think I've ever had anything this good."
Neji sat there watching her eat. He only took a few bites from his plate, but mostly sipped his tea. Once they were done, they cleaned the dishes and walked out on to the porch where they sat looking out at the courtyard.
"Thank you for dinner," Tenten whispered, a light blush creeping up into her cheeks. They sat side by side, their shoulders almost touching. Though Neji was almost a foot taller than her now, she liked to feel the warmth coming from him. She rarely did out in the field of battle.
Tenten drew her knees up to her chest and rested her chin on them. "You didn't tell me."
"Huh?" Neji looked down at her questioningly.
"What it was that you put into your dish tonight? You know that essential thing every ninja needs."
Neji's pale cheeks turned a light pink as he glanced out at the rain. His heart beat quickened, and his palms became clammy. It was unlike him to feel this way, ever.
"Neji?" Tenten probed.
"Just some euphoria, but I didn't put that much."
"You what!" Tenten shot to her feet, her whole face crimson in color.
"But it doesn't seem to be working." Neji frowned, a smile tugging at his lips.
"I'm going to take a bath!" Tenten marched right pasted him.
"Let me know if it has any effect." He yelled after her. Trying not to laugh.
"Oh shut up."
Tenten sat in the hot spring bath for what seemed like hours, her head was spinning with every emotion she had ever felt for Neji, and all the emotions she was feeling for him now. Sure the hot water had eased her muscles, but she was still up tight, and too energetic to sleep. So, grabbing her towel; she headed to the guest room where she found a light cotton top and some shorts. They seemed to be brand new. Slipping them on, she tiptoed quietly down the hall to Neji's room. His was slightly cracked opened. Peering in, she could she that he was sleeping, his hair let down around his shoulders. Not wanting to wake him, she turned and looked over the railing at the rain. She had also let her hair down; it had grown to the center of her back in the past few years, almost too long.
Then with out any warning, without any sound, she felt two warm hands ease around her waist and pull her close. He rested his chin lightly on her shoulder, though his embrace encompassed her whole frame. Startled, Tenten let out a tiny gasp, but Neji held firm.
"I guess it worked." He said, in a low voice.
"What makes you say that?"
"Because," he tilted his head to inside of her neck. "You came to my room,"
"That could mean any number of things." Tenten had loosened his hold around her waist, but she did not want to move away from him. Maybe the euphoria was playing tricks on her.
"You're cold." Neji whispered in her ear. His fingers unconsciously gripping at the thin cotton hiding her body.
Tenten turned around then, and looked at him; his eyes calm and serene. She traced her finger tips from his brow to the sharp curve of his chin. His lips had become fuller in the past few years she had noticed; and she longed to kiss them. Then as if he could read her mind, Neji molded his lips with hers passionately, tightening his hold around her. She laced her arms around his neck, pulling herself closer to him, though no matter how hard she tried, she couldn't get close enough.
Neji pulled away, breathing hard. "Let's go inside," he motioned to his darkened room. Tenten let him lead her in, where he closed the door behind them. Lighting a candle, Neji sat down on his bed that hovered close to the floor.
"You look like you've seen a ghost." He said to her.
"Oh, no I'm just a little taken aback." Tenten sat down beside him, and rested her head on his shoulder. "Since when do you like to charm the ladies?" She giggled.
"I supposed I'm a late bloomer."
"Huh?" She stared at him through the candlelight.
"All I really cared about up until now was refining my skills, but," Neji met his eyes with hers. He stroked her cheek gently, resting his thumb on her lower lip. "I've come to realize that there is more to being a man than just being strong."
Neji parted Tenten's mouth, and began kissing her with fervor. He slipped off her top easily, and pressed her flat against the bed with his body. It didn't take long before they both were completely cloth less.
Their hips pressed together tightly, circling in rhythmic patterns. Maybe it was the euphoria Tenten thought, because she had never felt anything like this before.
Morning came too soon, thought it was still raining and the sun had retired for the week. Tenten was wrapped loosely in Neji's sheets; she and Neji were intertwined every which way. Her hips pressed to his, and she rested her head on his chest.
"I," Neji hesitated. "I didn't put anything in the food last night. It was just rice and stir-fry, that's it. No add-ins."
Tenten was speechless. So her feelings and what had happened last night were real. There was no drug making them up after all. She pushed herself up and stared down at him.
"You thought that drugging me could get me to sleep with?"
"What no, Tenten,"
"All you would have needed was to ask me." Tenten laughed, and then kissed him hard on the mouth.
They both rolled over on top of each other, laughing and giggling. Finally, Neji had opened up to her. He was now hers.