A/N: Thank you for the reviews/alerts/favorites – they make my day! I meant to update sooner, but I'm glad to say that it only took me a week this time. I was going to divide this into two chapters but decided not to tease you any further ^_^ so this will be the conclusion of White Eye, Gentle Fist (I'm actually so sad!) A special thank you to everyone who read this fic – especially those who reviewed and placed it on their favorites/alerts list. I could not have finished this without your feedback/encouragement. To those who followed this story from the beginning – I can never begin to show my appreciation! A little warning: this chapter contains violence and (slight) gore. As always, your feedback is greatly appreciated so don't forget to read and review – pretty please with sugar on top ^_^
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
A chilling smile lit Neji's features as his hands lashed out in quick succession. Before he'd entirely completed the motion that blocked the two unsuspecting men's chakra pathways, a pair of kunai flew past him - one on each side - driving into their throats with stunning accuracy. He stood for a moment, watching, as they bled through their last breaths and crumpled to the ground. When he was sure that they would not be stirring again, he moved forward to engage the next opponent.
Never in his life had he been so thankful for the Byakugan that allowed him to keep an eye on Tenten without drawing his attention from the battle at hand. She seemed to be taking her promise seriously, and had not attempted to stray from his side. He'd not been entirely sure that she would be able to fight- until her kunai had sliced past him he'd thought she'd frozen in fear.
The enemy had recovered swiftly from the surprise of the attack, and Neji could hear Lee and Gai's shouts on the other side of the clearing, as they fought side by side. A quick sweep showed him that they'd managed to incapacitate or kill another two. At the moment they were engaging an opponent each – and these seemed unbloodied so Neji left them to their fight.
Only four left. Neji glanced back quickly, making sure that Tenten was still at his side and unhurt and then turned his attention to the four remaining nin. Three of them were grouped around the other, who seemed to be issuing instructions. Neji's eyes narrowed as he took in the appearance of the apparent leader. The man certainly held himself with more assurance than his compatriots, indicating a different class of fighter, and Neji could feel the rush of adrenalin when the man's face lighted with a spark of challenge as his dark eyes met Neji's cold gaze. That one is mine, Neji thought grimly.
His attention was diverted when Tenten gasped next to him. He turned questioningly to her, only to find her gaze riveted to the man still staring challengingly at Neji. Involuntarily Neji reached out to her in concern as her cheeks lost the little color they'd gained in the rush of fighting. She trembled at his touch, her gaze never wavering from the man across the clearing. White-hot rage flowed through him when he saw the way the man smirked at Tenten - leered at her. Tenten shuddered, and for the first time, the reality of the situation hit Neji. These men, that man, had touched her, hurt her, been inside of her.
The four at the other side of the clearing sprang into action. The leader and another man whirled and disappeared into the trees while the two remaining nin started toward Neji and Tenten, weapons at the ready. Like hell you're getting away, Neji thought furiously and braced himself, an arm outstretched in front of Tenten - whether to stop her from attacking or to keep her away from them, he didn't know.
As soon as the advancing nin where in range Neji let some of his anger explode with a slight sense of relief as his chakra burst from empty palms. The men flew back, smashing into a tree. Not waiting to see if they were getting to their feet, Neji started off in the direction the other two had gone.
Tenten's eyes locked onto her enemy's and something stirred in her memories. A flash of … something passed before her eyes, but before she had a chance to fully examine what was in her mind, another two men were coming at her and Neji. To her eternal shame, she took a step back and when Neji's arm shot out in front of her in a protective gesture, she grabbed onto him like a lifeline.
Sharply curved weapons flashed in the sunlight, and for a moment she could almost feel the cold steel against her skin again. Their laughter reverberated in her head, threatening to pull her back to another afternoon, another clearing. Neji's arm jerked from her grasp, sharply bringing her back to reality. He won't let anything happen to me, she thought with childlike trust shining in her eyes as she looked up at him, just in time to catch the flow of chakra from his palms lashing out at the approaching enemy with enough force to lift them into the air and slam them violently into a tree.
She winced at the sound of crunching bone and blood bursting from broken vessels. Tenten blinked as another flash of memory flowed in front of her eyes. When her eyes opened Neji was running across the clearing, going after the two that had disappeared into the trees - going after the man with eyes that were empty pools of blackness, dragging her down into their nightmarish depth.
"Neji!" she called after him but he paid her call no heed. Glancing frantically around her, she noticed most of the enemy on the ground, dead or dying. Lee and Gai were still fighting strongly and she whirled around to dart after Neji.
He ran through the trees, searching for his prey. Distantly Neji was aware that he was on the verge of completely losing control. The last time he'd felt even remotely like this was during his first try at the Chuunin exams, years ago. That was child's play compared to the feelings that were running through his veins now. He welcomed the savagery, wanted to lose control. He'd waited more than a year to make these bastards pay and his patience was wearing too thin for him to care about honor during combat or any other aspect of his battle creed. No, when he caught up they were going to hurt, badly. And even the pain that he was going to cause them was not enough. Were it up to him they would burn in the fires of hell for all eternity.
Neji paused as he entered another clearing, this one smaller, darker than the one he'd just left. His quarry was leaning against a tree, a few feet in front of him, twirling a kunai casually from one hand to another.
"Where's your little girlfriend?" he asked, sneering at Neji. Fighting for enough control to at least enter this battle with a semblance of a plan, Neji slowly swept his surroundings with his Byakugan, looking for the other man. "I could ask you the same thing."
A burst of laughter and then the man straightened up. "You know, while I was waiting, I've had a thought – it must be terrible to be you. It must just kill you to know that I got there first." The cold eyes bored into Neji's, waiting for him to snap at the words, but thankfully Neji had gained enough control to not react to such a obvious trap. He smirked when Neji tensed but made no other move.
"Yes, it must eat at you every day. I can just imagine it – you working her slowly away from timid virginity only to have me come along and snatch the prize right from under you." A hard laugh. "But, since you've gone to all the trouble to seek me out, I'll give you what you want – I'll tell you all about it. It's better to live vicariously through others than never to experience it at all, right? You'll have to excuse me if I gloss over some of the details, though, not all of my men have my finesse and I wouldn't want to bore you. I can see you have discerning taste."
Neji saw red, but before he could move forward to rip the son of a bitch's heart out, Tenten burst into the clearing.
Gasping for air Tenten leaned forward, hands on her knees, as she took in the scene in front of her. To the casual observer Neji looked as cool, calm and collected as always – but to someone who knew his moods, it was apparent that he was on the verge of murder. What happened before I got here? She wondered and turned her gaze onto the man that had instilled such fear in her before.
"Ah, and there she is. We were just getting to know each other. I thought I should make the effort since you and I are already so intimately acquainted." He smirked in Neji's direction, and grinned at Tenten. Involuntarily, without thought really, she moved closer to Neji. "Stay behind me, Tenten," he commanded without taking his eyes off their still grinning adversary.
"Well, now that all interested parties are present, shall I regale you with my tale?" his lips lifted in a snarl revealing yellowed teeth as he moved into fighting position. Neji glanced around again but there was still no sign of the other man. "There really is nothing to compare with breaking a virgin. Shall I tell you how she felt? Soft and warm - and the sounds she made-"
Tenten let out a small scream as Neji lunged forward, a blast of chakra flowing from his empty hands. His opponent whirled and reappeared on the other side of the clearing. Dizziness dragged at Tenten's senses and she closed her eyes reflexively only to have unwelcome memories burst into her mind's eye.
The cold, dark eyes were burning into her, the cool steel of the kunai he was wielding tracing patterns over her newly bared skin. She shook with fear and helplessness as he forced her legs apart and before she had time to prepare herself she was plunged into a world of pain that threatened to split her in two. Through the tears that welled up in her eyes, she could see his face twisted in an expression of pleasure, she could feel his movements, the rough hands of the others pulling at her flesh with hungry urgency. Screaming silently she closed her eyes, allowed the tears to spill over her bruised cheeks, tried to ignore the harsh breathing, tried not to hear the words he grunted in her ears, tried not to feel. Tenten wrenched her eyes open and willed the memories away, just in time to see the second man they'd been tracking moving into position behind Neji.
Suddenly everything made sense. They had been trying to gain an advantage by making Neji angry enough to disregard the Byakugan – they must've noticed that it seemed as if Neji had eyes in the back of his head, that he was impossible to surprise - not simply speaking out of perverted pleasure in causing pain. "Neji! Behind you!" she shouted, smoothly unfurling a scroll and sending a wave of kunai at the second assailant. Reacting instantly, Neji turned, flinging his arm out behind him to send a blast of chakra at both of the men simultaneously.
The leader whirled again, reappearing in front of Tenten who recoiled instinctively. Over his shoulder she could see the other nin engaging Neji – his taijutsu was good enough that Neji was having some trouble in landing that one hit that would end it all. Her attention was drawn back to the enemy in front of her as he took another step in her direction. "So, you came back for more?" he grinned lasciviously.
Her throat closed up with silent screams, her legs begged her to run. Trembling hands reached for her scroll and, still backing away, Tenten summoned another wave of weapons. He dodged them easily. "Aim not coming up to scratch?" he asked sardonically, raising an eyebrow at her. Panic beginning to cloud her thinking, Tenten reached for a different scroll, and in an instant she held a katana in front of her.
"Won't do you much good if you can't stop shaking," he laughed, and quick as a cobra strike, one hand had her wrist in a steel grip, twisting, and the katana dropped to the ground. His other hand had wormed its way beneath her panda buns and the eye-watering grip he had on her hair forced her knees to buckle, even as her neck arched backward. Falling to her knees with a gasp, Tenten stared up at him, tears of despair forming in the corners of her eyes. Not again.
Neji twisted to avoid his opponent's fist and caught sight of Tenten on her knees – the man's hand twisted in her hair. "No." He didn't even realize he'd spoken out loud until the man behind him laughed and said, "Forget about her – this time he'll make sure she's dead. After he's had his fill, of course. You should be worrying about me."
Fear, anger, hate, all the emotions swirling inside of him coalesced into one burning river of feeling and without thought Neji whirled into Kaiten, slamming his opponent backward into a tree. Moving so quickly that the man didn't even have time to slide all the way to the ground, Neji grabbed a pair of kunai lying forgotten on the ground – remnants of Tenten's attempt to assist him - and drove them through the man's body, pushing and twisting through the man's screams until he felt the blades stick in the bark of the tree. The movement ended in a smooth turn and then he was running.
From her vantage point on the ground, Tenten saw Neji killing his opponent and start in her direction. The grip on her hair intensified as her attacker took in the direction of her gaze. "You know, " he said conversationally, "that's what I detest about kunoichi. You're all strong until push comes to shove and then you're still relying on the male members of your teams to get you out of trouble. Just like any other defenseless, mewling, backwater wretch. But, I must say, you're weaker than most."
Neji was drawing closer and the words were echoing in her head. Weak, weak, weaker than most. Her hands fumbled into fists, Neji was nearly on them, and with a smooth movement Tenten unsheathed the hidden senbon from its pouch inside her sleeve. Lunging forward she drove the sharp, thin needle into the man's chest. Through his heart. "Not this time," she said grimly, standing and shoving him backwards as his grip on her hair slackened in shock.
He stumbled back, clutching at his chest, and Neji drew to a halt beside her. Her eyes were riveted on the dying man, and when Neji placed a hand on her shoulder she shook him off. Walking forward with deliberate steps, she swiped her katana from the ground, never breaking her stride. Lifting the weapon, she hit out with all her strength, absorbing the shock of the blade biting into the bone of the man's neck with her shoulders. His headless trunk fell to the ground in a rush of blood and Tenten lowered the katana with trembling arms. "Who's weak now?" she asked quietly.
Neji stood, shocked into silence. Never had he seen Tenten display so much malice, such hate. Usually she fought her battles the way shinobi were taught – without any emotion involved. She did what she had to do, with no embellishment – decapitating an already dying enemy was not her style. His eyes went back to her face, and he noted the tremors wracking her body as reaction set in. Her knees buckled and he moved quickly, catching her before she fell. Gasping breaths wracked her slender frame as Neji sank to his knees, holding her tightly against his chest. Rocking slowly, he stroked down her back, murmuring soothingly. "It's over now. It's all over."
Tenten hummed happily as she made her way to the village's main gate. Today was their first official mission for Konoha as the newly reformed Team Gai. Shortly after they'd destroyed the band of outlaws who'd been the cause of so much pain, Neji had officially handed in his resignation to ANBU. He claimed that he was best employed in keeping an eye on the rest of them as they only got into trouble without him, but Tenten knew that it was more than that. The bonds that had been forged in childhood had strengthened throughout their ordeal so that even Neji couldn't deny that Team Gai was where he belonged anymore.
The gate came into view and Tenten giggled to herself as she caught sight of her teammates. Lee was red in the face and shaking his fist at Neji, who leaned casually against the wall, looking bored. Gai ignored them both, far too used to this kind of behavior to even notice, much less care.
Her eyes lingered on Neji's lean frame, his silky dark hair, and, as if he sensed her approach, Neji's head lifted. He smiled and the already bright day nearly blinded her, and for the umpteenth time Tenten marveled at the fact that he smiled that way for her. Only for her.
She hugged her arms as her pace picked up. A new day, a new mission, and the person I love most beside me. What could be better? Tenten joined the others and together they made their way through the village gates. Her hand automatically reached for Neji's and their fingers intertwined. Lee attempted to revive the previous argument and Tenten laughed out loud. She shared an amused glance with Neji and turned her face up to bask in the warmth of the sun as she said a silent farewell to the past and welcomed the first day of the rest of her life.
A/N: Was the ending too abrupt? Did everything work out the way you wanted it to? I hope everyone enjoyed the story and that it had a satisfactory ending (however, if it did not live up to your expectations, feel free to let me know – my request for constructive criticism still stands). If you're looking for more NejiTen – I've written another couple of fics for this pairing. Links are in my profile. Anyway, let me know what you thought!