Author's Note: Well, *sniff* I'm sad yet happy to announce that this is the last chapter. To be honest, I hate this chapter. Thank you my faithful reviewers! I've completed my first on going fic! It may seem little to you but it feels great to me.
Yes, I took longer than usual, but in my defense, I…I'm writing on impulse! Yeah that's right. I WROTE THIS WHOLE STORY ON IMPULSE.
But enough of my terrible excuses! You just came to read this fic. Happy Holidays!!
Oh yeah, and before I forget, I only came to warn you that the ending is cheesy and probably cliché.
Thank you and have a pleasant day,
Neji parried various jabs and swipes, though only just barely. He was at a great disadvantage. A blow came to his right and he smacked the hand away, aiming his own chakra filled hand at his opponent's heart. His opponent easily caught his hand however, and held up his other hand, signally them to stop.
Hyuga Hiashi looked over to one of the edges of the training area where two Hyuga were sitting, watching. "Did you see all of that, Hanabi, Hinata?"
"Hai," The two girls chorused.
There was a silence.
"Go to the kitchens and fetch some tea," the Hyuga head ordered.
Once Hinata and Hanabi left, Hiashi averted his attention back to Neji. "Neji, I have something to ask." He gestured toward the edge of the porch that Hinata and Hanabi had just vacated.
"Yes, Hiashi-sama?" Neji fought hard not to crack under Hiashi's studying look. They sat.
"You have not been fighting as you normally do this evening." It was not a question. "Is there something bothering you?"
"No, sir," Neji replied. He was pretty sure Hiashi knew that he was lying.
Neji had been preoccupied with thoughts of his bun-haired teammate. He had barely won the last time he fought her and was intrigued by her determination to win, even though it was obvious to him that she'd never accomplish such a thing. He had accepted her deal, but now he was regretting his actions. Tenten had proved to be a lot stronger than he had expected, not that he'd ever admit that. Her attack style disturbed him; she was a long range fighter and from what he could tell, had scarily accurate aim. Strategies were created and discarded the longer he thought about it.
"I see," was Hiashi's answer. "Whatever the problem is, do find a way to resolve it. Such emotionally affected actions could lead to your demise in the future." Neji was sure that Hiashi would've said more, but Hinata and Hanabi had arrived with a tray of tea.
"Come Hanabi." Hiashi and Hanabi headed toward the center of the field and soon began their training, leaving Hinata with Neji.
The Hyuga heiress fidgeted with her fingers as she thought of something to say. When Neji was pretty sure she was about to say something, she was disrupted before she even began.
"Good evening Hinata-san, Neji." Neji twitched with irritation. That boy was even more annoying than Lee.
"Good evening Hideki-san." Hinata's voice was as soft and nervous as ever. Neji remained silent.
"What's wrong Neji? Cat got your tongue?" Hyuga Hideki slid in between Neji and Hinata.
Neji didn't reply. He struck it odd that Hideki referred to Hinata as "Hinata-san" as opposed to "Hinata-sama," as anyone with proper respect would say.
"So, what's going on with you Hinata-san?" Hideki inquired.
"Nothing, I'm fine," was her answer.
Hideki laughed. "That's what you say when everything isn't fine. How's you're taijutsu looking?" He asked the question as if this wasn't their first talk.
Hinata's fingers seemed to dance at the high speed they were moving. "It's um, fine."
Hideki laughed again. "If your father would allow it, I would offer to help, but I'm pretty sure there's only one person he'd allow to coach you." He looked at Neji.
"Anyway, Neji. I spoke with your teammate sometime after your training. She seemed...agitated. Did you do anything that was out there during training today?"
Neji shot him an annoyed look. "I don't see how that's any of your business." He got up.
"When I brought up the subject of you, she started ranting about how much of a jerk you are. Trouble in paradise?"
"I don't owe you an explanation," Neji spat and left swiftly. Neji hated how Hideki acted. He hated his loose attitude and how he was so laid back even though he too was chained by fate. He hated how Hideki tried to probe his mind and try to sympathize with him.
He needed time to think of a way around the "fighting Tenten" problem and Hideki wasn't helping.
Neji would never admit it, but just the thought of having to fight Tenten the next day made him groan.
Tenten wasn't exactly having a beautiful evening either. She paced back and forth in her small apartment going over different strategies. Her weapons and equipment were sprawled over the floor, as if they were all under testing to see which the best of the best were.
Sighing, she fell on her bed.
Tenten sat in Konoha's most famous dango shop with a frown on her face. Her thoughts were swimming like mad.
Sure, she sounded tough earlier, but did she have the skills to back it up? Lee was kind and encouraging, but even that didn't seem enough. It would take skill to beat Neji, not guts. Maybe she was putting too much thought into it. She may have gotten stronger, but it wasn't like Neji was just lying around doing nothing. He was surely stronger now as well. And there was that 'eight trigrams sixty-four palms' jutsu. What was that? Is she hadn't used substitution, she was sure she'd be in the hospital much longer than overnight.
"Hey, is this seat taken?" Tenten looked up, it was Neji's cousin, Hidachi or something like that.
"That depends on whether or not I'm sitting in this one while you're sitting in that one."
He recoiled, his hands up, "Oops, my bad."
She sent him a small smile. "Sit down, fool."
He sat and Tenten took that time to take in his appearance. His hair was short, black, and looked like he'd just been blown by a gust of wind blowing to the right. He had a rebel look on his face that almost challenged you to a fight. He wore a mesh shirt under his unzipped chuunin vest and had dark cargo pants. Not your typical Hyuga.
"So what is it you came to say?"
Tenten smacked her forehead. She had told someone she barely knew, who she might add was related to Neji, about her whole relationship with Neji. I am a complete idiot. He gave some pretty good advice though...Arg! She rolled on her side. I should've just talked to Lee. Despite the fact that she was lying in her secure apartment, which had around fifty booby traps around her quarters, she felt terribly vulnerable to attack.
Tenten dodged two strikes to the left, a strike to the right, and another strike to the left, almost pirouetting around the training field. She reached for a kunai but received several jabs in the side before she could even touch her holster.
She back flipped to the other side of the field, panting lightly. They had been at simple cat and mouse antics since the beginning of their fight, their roles switching every few seconds.
She charged, armed with either a kunai or shuriken on each finger. She kicked off the ground, flipping gracefully in the air and aimed all the weapons at Neji. The sounds of the weapons clashing together echoed through the clearing.
Neji, who learned his lesson from the last time they fought, easily dodged the barrage. He redirected a few of her weapons combined with his at her as she made her way to the ground. Tenten quickly shot out wires onto several trees and swerved out of the way.
She released the wires and ran around him in a circle. Five meters.
Neji stood in the Hyuga style pose, his byakugan watching Tenten as she ran around him. She attacks at several directions at the same time. Her weapon accuracy really does give her an edge. I need to drag her into close range. He smirked at the flash of paper that signaled a bomb. Fool him once, shame on her, fool him twice.
Neji backed near the place in the clearing where trees were more abundant. Take the bait. As if hearing his order, Tenten flung many kunai at him, a few explosives among the weapons. He ran from the area as fast as possible. The tags exploded, causing tree tips to bend over and tangle, some trees even falling over.
He repeated his actions on the opposite side of the clearing, the size of it getting considerably smaller.
Tenten's eye widened. Crap!
Neji took this moment to speed up to Tenten, setting off a scarily fast barrage of tenketsu hits.
Tenten inwardly cursed. Damn it. He nicked some of my left arm and I need that for summoning. I'd better use that jutsu now before all of my tenketsu are shut off.
Tenten created as much distance between Neji and herself as possible. She started counting. One meter. Two meters. Three meters. Four meters. She ran around Neji in a full circle and jumped.
Tenten unfurled her scroll.
Spin yourself until the scroll's wide enough to not fold on itself. Her body obeyed her thoughts, spinning around as if she were the center of a sphere.
Now assume a normal vertical position and spin clockwise. Faster. Faster. Yes!
Pay attention to the frequency of the gaps. Good.
Once you've accommodated to the frequency of the gaps, summon the weapons. She bit her thumb running it along a few seals, summoning two kunais and a scythe.
Neji looked up in amazement as hundreds of weapons made their way towards him, all aimed in the shape of a circle with him as the center point. They weren't all aimed at him, he noticed, some were aimed in around a four meter radius of himself, even as he shifted position.
He gritted his teeth and whipped out a kunai in each hand and did his best to dodge it all. He found himself punctured by various weapons, some he couldn't even name. He saw Tenten land on the ground, panting hard. Her eyes were filled with an emotion he couldn't identify.
He pulled the weapons out and started to charge toward her but she had already jumped into the air again. Tenten pulled on wires, lifting a good one third of the weapons littered on the ground. She pulled them up towards herself before throwing them at him.
Neji tried the back out of range but ended up having to have to try to deflect the weapons once again. This time, however he handled the attack better.
Tenten formed a one hand seal in front of her chest as she neared the ground. Here goes!
Neji looked around. He could see nothing but chakra surrounding him. He smirked. A genjutsu. Did she really think I'd fall for that? He closed his eyes and concentrated. "Release!"
His smirk disappeared as the chakra wall vanished and his face met Tenten's fist.
He rammed harshly into a tree and after hearing several thwacks around him, he realized that he was pinned to a tree. He struggled against it but found that the kunai were several inches into the tree. Crap.
Tenten ran at him. Neji concentrated at the area around his hands and the kunai burst from around them. He quickly made a few seals and vanished in a puff of smoke just as Tenten reached him.
My plan failed! Tenten screamed over and over in her mind. Tenten closed her eyes and concentrated.
Neji watch her with interest from his perch in a tree. She tricked me into thinking that complex weapon move was her ace. My reaction and reflexes were slowed after getting hit that much and was unable to react as fast when she cast that genjutsu and then aimed that punch at me, clever.
Tenten quickly spun and threw a few shuriken in Neji's direction. He jumped down and before Tenten could reach for more weapons, he quickly grabbed her arms and rammed her into a tree.
With her hands pinned up by Neji's one arm and his other hand an inch from her heart, Tenten hung her head, accepting her defeat. She was tired, her stomach was complaining at her, and she was sweating like crazy.
"Cheer up Tenten." Lee gave her a soft smile over the hot tea.
Tenten groaned. "How can you say that Lee? I just lost to Neji! That means he won't spar with me and I have to do whatever he wants!"
"Perhaps offering that wasn't the best thing to do, but you always have next time!"
Tenten laid her head on the tea house table. "There will be no next time! He won't accept another challenge."
Lee chuckled. "I don't know Neji to not accept a challenge."
"Then you obviously don't know Neji. He'd never involve himself in such 'trivial matters.'"
"So you won your big match."
Neji looked at Hideki. "How did you find out about that?"
Hideki grinned. "I'm very informed."
Neji narrowed his eyes at the older Hyuga. "You got Lee drunk didn't you?"
Hideki's grin grew wider. "You better believe it."
Neji made a very unNeji-like sigh. "What do you want?"
Hideki raised an eyebrow. "Want?"
"Yes," Neji replied irritably. "This is blackmail, correct?"
Hideki frowned. "No. I'm gonna give you some advice that you only get from experience." He leaned closer to Neji. "You don't meet a girl like that every day. If you throw her aside now, you'll regret it, man."
Neji eyed him. "What do you mean?"
Tenten shifted uncomfortably as she and Neji waited for Lee and Gai-sensei, which was oddly suspicious. "Neji." She felt his eyes fall on her and her whole body tingled.
"You um, you won yesterday and you haven't told me what you wanted me to do."
They stared into each other's eyes for a while and Tenten grew more and more nervous as the seconds passed.
Neji closed his eyes and bowed his head slightly, as if thinking. Tenten got notion that he had already decided a long time ago. Neji opened his eyes and looked back up at her.
"I would like you to train with me from now on."
She looked at him, confused. "W-What?" she spluttered.
"I would like you to train with me from now on."
Her face grew from surprised to confused to angry. "What?! I just KNOW that you did not just say that!"
He blinked at her. "I believe I did."
She blinked back, her eyelashes fluttering dangerously. "Let me get this straight!" She ran at him until her face was inches from his, embarrassment gone. "You insult me and the name of kunoichi by refusing to spar, make me train my butt off but get caught off guard by Gai-sensei and lose to you and humiliate myself, have me train even harder, challenge you and fight only to lose again, have me think that I have lost all of my chances to prove myself, and you casually say you want to be sparring partners?!"
Neji's expression didn't change. "That's about it."
"You can't just! You can't! You can't—"
"I can't what?"
"You can't do that! That's not how it works!"
"That is how it works. You said you would do anything if you lost and you did. I am asking you, no, telling you to spar with me. Therefore, you must obey."
"What?! You can't just play with me like that!"
"I believe the term is manipulation."
There was a pause.
"So does that mean you take it back?"
"Take what back?"
"What you said, Neji. That I was destined to be weak and whatever."
Neji cocked his head. "How can I take back words that I myself don't believe."
Tenten's eyebrows furrowed, "Huh?"
Neji sighed. "Tenten, how strong do you think your past self would have imagined yourself at this point?"
She considered him for a moment. "Probably not as strong as I am," she mumbled regrettably.
He smirked. "Correct. I became stronger than you would've expected yourself to because you had the ambition of defeating me."
She narrowed her eyes. "What's that supposed to mean?"
"I said before that you'd die because of carelessness because of lack of skill, correct?"
"This experience with me has given you a lot more skill, correct?"
Tenten didn't like where this was going. "Yeah."
"That means that I indirectly trained you, therefore meaning that it is because of me that you are as strong as you are now, therefore proving that you'd be nowhere as good as you are now without me. Am I not correct?"
Tenten gave him a dirty look. He has the nerve to take credit for my strength?! That bastard!
He smirked at her. "It's really simple logic, Tenten. Reverse psychology if you wanted to name it something else. I'd think you would've figured it out by now. I told you that you weren't strong and you tried hard training to prove me wrong."
"So, you don't really believe in that fate stuff?"
He scoffed at her. "That 'fate stuff' is true, only not for you, I suppose."
"You can't go making exceptions like that! The whole concept fails if you think it like that!"
He shrugged. "It makes perfect sense to me."
"That's because you're an ass! You are an ass!" She reinforced every word with a hard jab in his chest. "You are a cold, arrogant, sexist, butthole! I'll never forget this! I'll never forgive you for this! Nothing you do will ever let me forgive you for what you—"
Her shouts were ceased when his lips pressed gently onto hers. Her heart fluttered at the sensation of his cool lips against hers and everything around her faded away. She forgot her anger, all of her troubles and the irritating fact that Gai and Lee had arrived on the grounds just a few seconds ago. It was better than heaven on earth. Her daze faded when Neji pulled away.
Neji cocked his head. "Not even that?"