Crack. My response to the last couple Naruto manga chapters (614-616). Because in terms of Neji and Tenten's character treatment, they've been sort of ridiculous.
Plotless, includes much breaking of the fourth wall. Major spoilers for Naruto 614-616, and also Naruto SD (Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth anime). References to Naruto SD episodes, especially episode 41, which will seem altogether ludicrous if you haven't seen them and thus have no idea what the characters are talking about. On that note, if you haven't seen Naruto SD, go watch it. It's a bunch of chibilicious cracktastic craziness that really brightens your day. And heck, it's definitely my happy place right now given the recent manga developments…
It was just another warm, peaceful day in Konoha-
The brunette looked up from her task of sharpening her weapons, a little surprised, as her usually calm and collected teammate stormed into the training ground. Neji's Byakugan was blazing as he stopped in front of her, before crossing his arms and tipping his nose up ever so slightly, a rather anticlimactic display of his displeasure after he'd pretty much air-palmed a tree out of his way just seconds ago.
Tenten surveyed him for a moment, noting his resemblance to an affronted feline, and then returned to her kunai.
There it was. Icy. Cold. Hard, with just a hint of suppressed anger.
"What?" she finally asked, crossing her arms and mirroring his action, "If this is about that latest cross-dressing episode, it was all Lee. I had nothing to do with it."
"It's not about that," Neji spat at her, "Though you really need to stop stealing my costumes."
"I don't steal your costumes!" Tenten cried, "It's not my fault the producers think you can pull off dresses better than I do, and honestly Neji, with the hair can you even-"
"Do. Not. Insult. My. Hair," Neji growled at her, "Especially now. Especially after what you did."
Tenten looked genuinely confused at his vicious tone. Neji was upset, more upset than any of Lee's cross-dressing skit antics had ever made him.
"What did I do?" she finally asked, seeing that he had not deigned to elaborate.
"Chapter 616," Neji finally muttered, practically spitting out every syllable with every ounce of Hyuuga condescension that he could muster, "Does it mean anything to you?"
"Chapter 61 – oh," Tenten trailed off, realizing, "That… yeah, about that-"
"Do you consider me a friend, Tenten?" Neji asked softly, though his tone was deadly this time, "Or even if not a friend, a teammate? A worthy companion of sort?"
"Neji," Tenten sighed, realizing where he was going with this, "Of course I do, you're my best friend-"
"I used to think I was," Neji agreed, eyes flashing, "Until your utter and absolute betrayal!"
"I – how did I betray you?!" Tenten cried.
"Aside from stealing my costumes and gallivanting around the sets of Naruto SD dressed like a bishounen so I have to be a woman-"
"I don't steal your costumes and you do make a pretty woman-"
"Shut up! And that one time you were pretending to be in love with Orochimaru, that snake traitor-"
"That wasn't me, you idiot! That was all Lee's crap-"
"And leaving me in the firecracker costume to be blown up when you very well could have used your weapons to defend me-"
"You could have used your own Kaiten!"
"You're supposed to cover my blind spot!"
"-okay, whatever, everyone knows those producers are on crack, get to the point!"
"Oh. Yes," Neji paused for a moment, taking a breath before he began his rant, "The point. The point is, in a recent chapter of the Naruto manga, our beloved creator decided it would be a good idea to kill me off."
"I'm aware," Tenten said sadly.
"Of course, I didn't want to die," Neji said bitterly, "I wanted to become clan head and marry yo-u know, somebody, and have children."
"I know," Tenten said softly.
"I admit I got a rather grand death scene, defending Hinata-sama, and Naruto, and their love – but nonetheless, the fact is, I was impaled by a bunch of – I'm not exactly sure what those were exactly – and I died…"
"However," Neji glared at her, "To add insult to injury – or rather, to death, because you know, I died-"
"I got that already," Tenten rolled her eyes, and Neji's glare escalated to Sasuke Uchiha levels of animosity.
"I died, and what would you know? My best friend, my closest – person – you – you showed no reaction."
"Neji, I –"
"Last year, I figured you were waiting, waiting to let it all out later, so I let it slide, despite the stabs of betrayal battering my dead, non-beating heart-"
"This year, however… you came, you have panel-time…"
"One freaking panel!"
"And you didn't react, Tenten," Neji almost seemed to be sulking now.
"You're best friend, your sparring partner – I – died, and you didn't even shed a tear! You didn't even look upset!"
"I promise I was, I'm just drawn badly-"
"You didn't even say anything!" Neji was practically yelling now, looking utterly furious.
"Actually," Tenten muttered, "I said that one word, remember?"
"Oh. Yes," Neji said acerbically, remembering, "You said Lee. Your one word, after I died, was 'Lee'. Clearly you were more upset about him being sad that I died over the fact that it was I, in fact, who died."
"That wasn't it-"
"Because you know, it wasn't Lee who sacrificed himself for Naruto and Hinata. It wasn't Lee who had sharp – things sticking into him, and blood pooling out. It wasn't Lee who was gone forever-"
"Goddamnit, shut up already!" Tenten screeched, "I got it, you died, nobody cried, get over yourself!"
"Tenten!" Neji gaped at her, utterly insulted, "How could you?!"
"It isn't my fault I don't get any fucking panel time, or any good lines! It isn't my fault Kishimoto doesn't portray my character properly!"
"Excuses, excuses," Neji said sniffily, "I died and you didn't care. Some friend you are."
Tenten just ignored him and continued her rant.
"It isn't my fault that Kishimoto-san accidentally made my eyebrows too thick when he was drawing my face! It wasn't my fault that he was on some sort of deadline and had to get the chapter out as soon as possible, so instead of re-drawing the page just decided to draw the rest of me as Lee instead!"
"That was my scene, damnit! I was supposed to be the one breaking down and holding you and crying! You're pissed off he killed you, well be happy you at least got something! I'm good as dead with the kind of panel time I'm getting!"
"…still, you weren't sad enough," Neji muttered, though he appeared slightly mollified.
"Just because I don't make everything into one big melodramatic production like you do," Tenten rolled her eyes.
"Melodramatic?!" Neji cried, sliding into a fighting stance, "I'll show you melodramatic-"
Tenten pulled out a scroll, but there really wasn't any need because what came next was something that no weapon could block…
"Skit no jutsu!"
"Where are you?!" Neji cried, Byakugan pulsing as he shoved aside hordes of enemy shinobi, "Kaiten!"
He spun around, clearing his path and charged forward, hair streaming behind him, hands moving frantically, "Tenten! Hold on!"
He found her then, lying on the ground in a pool of blood, metal piercing her body.
"Tenten!" Neji gasped, "No – no – wait –"
"N-Neji…" Tenten croaked, her brown eyes fluttering, "You – you found me…"
"I'll always find you," Neji murmured softly, and he dropped down to his knees next to her, gently picking her up and cradling her to his chest, "Hold on now, I'll get you to a medic and-"
"N-Neji," Tenten coughed, spitting out blood, and he wiped it away with his fingers, "It – it's no use – I – I can't –"
"Don't say that," Neji urged her, his eyes shining with tears, "You'll be fine… you're not going anywhere… not when I – "
"N-Neji-" Tenten managed to gasp out, her eyes fluttering shut, "You – I'm glad we –"
"Tenten! Tenten," Neji brushed her bangs out of her eyes, grasping her face in his hands, "Tenten, no, don't, don't close your eyes, stay with me-"
"MEDIC!" Neji shouted, "Hinata-sama! Lee! Get a medic, NOW!"
"No –" Neji choked, shaking Tenten slightly, pulling her closer to his chest, "Tenten – you – no – no – damn it – "
Neji pounded the ground with his fist, shaking the log he was holding.
Tenten looked impressed.
"Gee, Neji," she said softly, "I've got to admit… that was… that was-"
"What I would have done had our roles been reversed and exactly what you should have done but didn't?" Neji shot at her, "I'm aware."
"I was going to say… moving…" Tenten informed him, "But I suppose."
"Moving," Neji growled, "I'll show you-"
"I can't do this," Tenten said brokenly, crumpling to her knees next to the tombstone, "Without you… I'm – I'm lost…"
She pulled out a kunai then, her sharpest one, and it gleamed under the moonlight.
"I'm coming, Neji," Tenten whispered, before-
"CUT!" Tenten screamed, "What the hell was that?! You didn't expect me to go suicidal on you?! You're crazy!"
"No, no, you're right, that was all wrong," Neji muttered, "You can't die, not when-"
"Neji…" Tenten murmured, smiling at the tombstone, "You know… I'll always have a part of you inside me now…"
"Ecchi!" Tenten screeched, "You made that line sound so wrong!"
"You're completely missing the point!" Neji flushed.
Tenten patted her stomach, slightly swollen under her white shirt.
"I hope he has your eyes…"
"WHAT?!" Tenten screeched even louder this time, "Why did you make me – me – pregnant?!"
The brunette caressed her swollen belly lovingly, pushing her long hair out of her eyes.
"He's going to be an excellent shinobi," the young woman said, her lilac eyes lighting up, "With my Byakugan and your skills with weapons-"
"No!" Neji cried, panicking, "Cut! Cut!"
"…so you made yourself pregnant?" Tenten groaned.
"THIS IS ALL LEE'S INFLUENCE!" Neji almost screamed, "I don't even have control of myself anymore!"
"Well, now we know who wears the pants in our relationship," Tenten smirked, before flushing, "Not that – uh – we have a – relationship in – in that way or anything."
"What? Oh," Neji caught on, "Of course. I mean, of course not."
"You're into Hinata anyways-"
"What?! No! No, she's my sister, damnit! Stupid Lee and his stupid ideas! Hinato and Nejiette! Completely messed it up! It was supposed to be Nejio and Tentenette but the blasted writers apparently wanted the show to be crack, so only non-canonical pairings were promoted-"
"What?" Neji asked, feigning cluelessness.
"You – you made me pregnant in your stupid skit," Tenten muttered, "And you've been acting really prissy about that last manga chapter-"
"I'm sorry, is it irrational for me to be upset that my best friend didn't give even the slightest damn about my tragic and heroic death?!"
"What did you have to be so damn heroic for anyways?!" Tenten lashed out at him, "Who told you to die?! Who told you to go and sacrifice yourself? Who told you to leave me here to deal with that non-stop spandex circus all day and all night, all by myself?! Who told you to –"
She broke off, shaking slightly.
"Don't hold it all in," Neji told her softly, "Sometimes it helps, letting it out."
"I – I just," Tenten looked away from him.
He took a step towards her, two fingers brushing softly against her cheek.
"H-huh?" Tenten stared at him, cheeks flushing.
"Kishimoto-san told me to sacrifice myself and die. The same way he told you not to react to my death, though I don't see what purpose the latter serves…"
"Oh. Oh, yeah. Of course. Sorry-"
"I'm sorry too," Neji murmured, "For over-reacting."
"Well, I underreacted," Tenten shrugged, "It's only natural."
"After all, I'm the woman in this relationship, right?" Neji joked, before catching himself, "I mean – friendship. Companionship. You know?"
"Your last dream sequence," Tenten said softly, "In episode 41… the one where we went to Hawaii…"
"What about it?" Neji asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Well, I really liked that blue bikini you had me wear," Tenten said cheekily.
It was Neji's turn to blush.
"It looked good on you."
"Well, thank you."
"This is why they should let me decide your wardrobe, rather than Lee and the other idiots."
"Neji!" Tenten whacked him on the arm slightly, though she giggled, "The fans did say that I looked – well – better than usual in that episode… in certain aspects…"
"What can I say, I know you best," Neji smirked.
"Ecchi!" Tenten tried to sound scandalized, but it didn't come out as more than a squeak, because suddenly, he had leaned in, and his lips were so close to her own.
"Next time," Neji murmured, "If they decide to kill me off again… in Naruto SD, perhaps…"
"God, no," Tenten shuddered, "And leave me to deal with that idiosyncrasy? Lee and Gai's craziness gets amplified by a hundred times in that show!"
"It would be a good riddance, I'd say," Neji said, "At least there'd be no more skits."
"Shut up, Tenten!"
"Anyways, go on," Tenten locked her eyes with his, aware of his proximity again, "Next time?"
"Try to show a little more… feeling, you know?"
"Feeling?" Tenten raised an eyebrow, acutely aware of his hands that were now resting on her waist, "Feeling how?"
And then he kissed her.
And then the very next day, one weapon-armed Tenten carrying a massive spiked ball showed up outside a certain someone's office.
"Tenten!" a young Japanese man greeted her, rising from his desk, "My favorite character! What can I do for you today?"
"Well, you have two options," Tenten said through gritted teeth, shifting the spiked ball on her shoulders, "Massive reincarnation jutsu… or, if that's too redundant for you, which it probably is… I want a dramatic death scene in this war!"
And then she died.
At least in the manga.
And so Neji and Tenten lived happily ever after in Heaven.
Or, in the happy, crazy little forever world of Rock Lee's Springtime of Youth.
Thanks for reading! After 616 I was going to go for angst… you know, show Tenten mourning Neji's death later on after keeping a strong front before – and then I saw, screw this, let's just go the Springtime of Youth!way and write crack.
Also, if any of the inside jokes/references didn't make sense, feel free to PM me and I can explain if you'd like! (It's all mostly from the recent manga and Naruto SD episodes).
Hope you enjoyed this ridiculous piece. Please review!