Hello. I hope you all enjoyed the previous two chapters! Sorry for the delay! I've been busy with school and all that jazz. I had a great time writing it, so I hope you all enjoy this final chapter. Hopefully I'll continue writing fanfictions after this, but we'll wait and see. Ladies and gents, here's the last chapter ;D
Just Admit It
Neji and Tenten were both frozen on the spot. Neji was waiting for her to change the subject, while Tenten was waiting for his answer. Obviously, they knew for a fact that they weren't going to be the first to give in. Neji eyes were still wide in shock. He looked at the gifts on the floor, then back at her hands holding the picture, and then straight in her eyes. Tenten flinched at his deep stare. She never saw him this scared before; over something so small, yet so strange. Neji tried to break the silence, but he couldn't find the right words to say. Knowing Tenten, she wasn't going to leave without an answer.
"What is this?" Tenten repeated, more curiously.
Neji decided to play it cool. Apparently, that was the best the prodigy could come up with.
"Well, I can see that," Tenten nearly scoffed, "B-but all of this. What is all of this? The box, the ribbon, the photo of us…what is this?"
"You just stated what they are."
"NEJI," she said sharply, getting more annoyed than curious, "Tell me what is this is. Why do you have our picture? In this little…gift box?"
Neji seemed as calm as ever, but deep down, this whole situation was killing him.
"I have the photo because it was the first photo taken with my camera, and I couldn't merely throw it away. And the box is just something to put it in, nothing more. The Hyuuga household is filled with everything decorative, so a small, fancy box is really nothing. I just placed the photo in there simply because I had no other use of the box. Any other questions?"
Neji's eyes showed more confidence, thinking that he's got her right where he wanted her. But that soon faded when he saw that she didn't look convinced. She looked at him, and back at the photo. Tenten then looked back at the floor, remembering the ribbons. She picked them up, and showed it to Neji, walking a bit closer to him. He was getting a bit too nervous and uncomfortable now.
"What are these?"
"Hm," she said, now tapping the ribbon on her chin, "Why in the world would you, of all people, have hair ribbons?"
"It's Hinata's," he said, a bit too quickly, making it seem suspicious.
Tenten raised a brow, "Hinata doesn't wear anything on her hair."
"It's a gift. For her…birthday."
"Her birthday is not until a couple of months."
"No shame in shopping early."
Tenten just stared, still not convinced. For one, Neji hardly ever bought anything for anybody, birthday or not. He doesn't tend to pay as much attention to Hinata as well. Tenten examined the ribbon more through. It was pink, and on the end of the strands was a cute, cartoon like panda. A simple circle, with a two dots as eyes and an 'x' as a mouth. It had two circles as ears, which looked real similar to Tenten hair buns. Real similar. Tenten blinked, remembering one time she slipped out to Neji that she adored pandas. The color of the ribbon seemed to also match her training uniform. Tenten looked back up at Neji, who, as always, gave easy to read. her that same blank look. She looked at the box, and photo.
"And you placed in it in the same box where our photo is at?"
"Tenten, it's a box. I put it in there just for convenience. Take it out when I need it."
"And our photo?"
Neji turned a bit read from the term 'our'. He shook out of it, "Same reason. Convenience."
Tenten didn't buy it. She picked up the box and the cover that fell off. There had to be something, just something, that could have Neji spill out the truth. There was a photo of her and her. Their first ever, and only, photo together. Then there were ribbons, pink like her uniform and with a panda that almost symbolized her. He should know she likes pandas, especially those in cute accessories. She was pretty sure she told him about it before. Tenten almost slapped herself in stupidity. She wasn't that stupid. But she was more angered that Neji thought that she was stupid enough to fall for it. She looked at him straight in the eye. She almost glared.
"Neji," she started slowly, "Are these gifts…for me?"
Neji's heart stopped, and not in the good way. Her eyes went right through him; now he was the easy one to read. For the first time in his life, he was caught red handed, and he was nervous about it. Nervous. Mr. Prodigy was finally nervous. But knowing him, he always found a way to get out of things.
"It can be, if you want it to be," Neji said, too calmly.
Tenten just froze. She was incapable of moving due to the anger that was now rising in her. That was by far the stupidest thing Neji has ever said. Scratch that; that was the only stupid thing Neji has ever said. What got to her the most is that he was willing to lie to her, his closest teammate, about something as small as a gift. She started shaking slightly. Neji noticed, and his calm expression slowly became a worried one. He didn't know this would affect her that much. She gave him one last look, and shook her head in disappointment. Placing the gift down gently, she just walked sharply passed him with nothing else to say. Regret washed over him, which he newly felt because he never once regretted his decisions. But with her, it was different.
"What have I done?" he grunted annoyingly to himself, as he turned around and ran after her.
He was lucky enough that Tenten decided not to run. She was only a few feet away, and Neji wasn't going to let this moment slip away. He picked up the pace and caught up to her. She sensed his presence, so she decided to walk a bit faster.
"Leave me alone, Neji," she said through her teeth.
"You don't understand," Neji assured, trying to make her stop walking. It worked, but not the way he wanted it to. Tenten stopped, turned around, crossed her arms and scoffed. She was beyond annoyed with Neji's dullness.
"You're right! I don't understand," Tenten laughed sarcastically, "I don't understand why you can't just tell me that the gift was for me, instead of LYING to me. It's just a damn gift, Neji! Why would you lie to me about something so small?"
"Better than lying to you of something big," he replied, but immediately regretted. He mentally slapped himself in stupidity. He surely does need to learn to think before he speaks. Obviously, that enraged Tenten.
"Oh, so lying to me apparently is no big deal? It's still lying, you jerk!" Tenten almost yelled, but she shakily tried to calm down, "I don't know if I can even trust you anymore. I-in fact, what else have you been lying to me about, Neji?"
"You're making a big deal off a stupid gift," Neji shot back, now annoyed, "Have you ever thought that I didn't want to tell you because I wanted to surprise you?"
Tenten again froze, with nothing to admit but that he was right. She didn't take the time to think about the reasonable possibilities behind his little lie. She looked down in disappointment and shame. Neji noticed her sudden gesture, and let out an exhausted sigh as he rubbed his forehead frustratingly.
"It's not like you to overreact like this," Neji stated, calmer, "To lose your temper, yes. But not to overreact over something like this."
Tenten stayed quiet for a while before responding in a whisper, "You know I don't like surprises."
"Which is why I didn't plan on giving that to you until later in the near future. Possibly your birthday."
Tenten again had nothing to say. He was beating her with everything he said. It was partially her fault as well, for not taking the time to fully understand the situation. Although, she did have her reason. A reason she could not yet tell. Neji again sighed.
"You know I wouldn't lie to you," Neji said disappointingly, unintentionally making her feel guitly.
The guilt soon faded. Tenten bit her lip, realizing her reason again. "He DID lie," she thought, pitifully, "He DID lie. And he's been keeping this from me for, lord knows how long…". She look down and shook her head. Her plan to have him admit his feelings failed. Her plan to finally have Neji open up to her…failed. Uncomfortable silence overwhelmed them, making Neji think that he was, once again, the right one. Tenten took a deep breath, and looked up back at him, this time straight into his eyes. Neji was appalled, for her eyes shown pain. Before Neji could open his mouth to speak, Tenten whispered the most horrid thing that Neji would of never wanted to hear in his whole life:
"I heard what you said to the lady from the bakery."
Neji couldn't get himself out of this one. He was again put on the spot. it was as if everything stopped--time, movements, and even breathing. Neji couldn't hear or feel anything but his own rapid heartbeats. He recalled the moment:
He winced to himself. "So she wasn't paying attention to the menu," he thought stupidly. The pain and eagerness have not left Tenten, which made it even harder for Neji to look into. He tried to speak, but his mouth just wouldn't open. He couldn't find the right words to tell her without weakly admitting his feelings.
He truly was a coward. He was a coward, and they both knew it. Neji would much rather forever hide his feelings of love and affecting than to just simply admit it and handle rejection. Tenten was waiting impatiently for him to speak, but once again, his mouth gave up on him. She let out a breath of frustration. Anger and disappointment now flashed in her eye, as she backed away from him. She gave him a forced smile, which suddenly cut through his heart like a knife.
"I have something to admit," she said, sadness seeping through her smile, "All these years, I've admired you. I look up to you. I realize that the more time I spend with you, the more happier I am. I look forward to seeing you, I miss you like crazy when you're gone, and I've honestly never felt this close to a person before I met you. And I love it Neji. I love this feeling I have with you."
Tenten bit her lip before speaking again, "I always felt alone. Having no family, and all. I stick close to you because you're the only one who makes me feel…not lonely. You take away that feeling. The longer we were together made me realize more things about you. Things I've never noticed about you before. I began to become this stupid little girl who had a mad crush on you because I couldn't help but admire you even more. Suddenly every little thing you do made me feel so happy, Neji! You're laugh, your smile, your voice…"
Tenten's voice began to become shaky, so she paused, trying to pull herself together. Suddenly she felt hot tears stroll down her face. She sighed pitifully to herself. She didn't plan on crying, and she wasn't going to do it now. Not in front of him. She rubbed her eyes boyishly with her sleeve and just eyed the trees besides Neji. She couldn't look at him now. She took a deep breath, having only one last thing to say.
"I like you,," she said with another painful, forced smile, "I like you a lot. So much to the point where I think I may be in love with you. I…I love you, Neji."
Neji felt numb. He couldn't even look at her. It was too much to take in after so little time. She just poured out her feelings to him, and confessed that she LOVED him. And all he could do was just stare back with that usual, blank gaze of his. What the worst of it all is that he didn't have the guts to admit that he felt the exact same way. For the first time in a long time, Neji was overwhelmed with emotions. Happiness, confusion, guilt, amazement--all in which did not mix well. It was too much for him to bear. He didn't know how. So many feelings in his heart that he couldn't turn into words. He wanted so badly to tell her how he felt, but something kept pulling him back. He opened his mouth, but sadly, once again, not one word escaped from his lips. Neji closed his mouth in disappointment. Tenten's smile faded, and her eyes grew sadder by the second. Tears started to well up in her eyes, so she glared to hide it. It didn't work, but the glare didn't leave her face. Her eyes were serious and was filled with every ounce of hope possible.
"Neji, you like me. Admit it, or I'm gone."
This time, Tenten didn't give him enough time to answer. After just seconds of staring into his eyes, a tear rolled down her face and she sharply turned around and started running. She figured that if he can't admit it, then he's not sure of how he feels. However, that was the total opposite of how it was. Seeing Tenten run away from him snapped Neji back to his senses. He was staring at the love of his life run away from him. This was his one and only chance; he wasn't going to let it run away this time.
Being faster than Tenten, he caught up with her almost instantly. Tenten noticed, and tried to pick up her pace, but obviously, she was still no match. Before she could try to again increase her speed, a fallen branch of all things managed to trip her. Tenten stumbled to the floor. Neji, as concerned as he was, he quickly bent down and let out a hand to help her up, but she stubbornly denied it. She just stared at his hand coldly. Neji sighed and sat down besides her, who was still laying down on her side facing him. She couldn't look at him, especially after embarrassing herself like that. Neji broke the silence
"Why'd you run away?" he asked softly, but directly.
"I don't know," she whispered, weakly, "I thought I could handle rejection, but I guess not."
Neji blinked in confusion, "I didn't reject you."
Tenten now stared up back at him in the same amount of confusion. She slowly sat up and sat crossed legged in front of him, examining his face. He looked serious, which made her even more puzzled.
"I just confessed how I felt about you, and you didn't say anything," she said, wincing a bit from the nearby memory.
"I didn't reject you," Neji repeated, more sure now that he heard her misunderstanding, "I just…didn't know what to say to that."
Immediately Tenten glared. Neji braced himself. Apparently, what he said hurt her. Again. She let of a huff of a breath, and looked away from his gaze. The glare was still planted on her face.
"All you had to do was admit if you felt the same way," Tenten grumbled, "A simple yes or no would have been way better than your silence. Do you know how embarrassing that was for me? H-how much of a false hope it all was? I thought everything would work out. Considering you told the lady you wanted me as a girlfriend, and that you had gifts for me. Instead of you being a man and admitting it to me, I just got your silence. Made me think that I wasn't worth it yet. I got my hopes up for nothing."
"Just because I didn't speak as fast as you wanted me to, doesn't mean that I don't think you're worth it," Neji shot back, almost instantly for he didn't like this feeling of being accused for no good reason, "You're so stubborn, Tenten. Stubborn, impatient, and you always jump into the strangest conclusions. I couldn't immediately answer you because it was so much to take in. I'm not used to feeling this way. It's not easy for me…"
"Ha," Tenten snorted, now feeling bad and childish, but tried to hide it, "Since when was anything too hard for you, Mr. Prodigy? Why isn't this easy for you?"
"Because it's you."
Tenten now fully looked at him in slight shock. She didn't understand what he meant by that. 'Because it's you'. Tenten tried to think over what he was trying to say, but knowing her, she took it the wrong way. Her shocked looked became yet another glare. She shakily stood up and looked down at Neji . Neji, still sitting, looked right back at her in confusion. She let out a sarcastic laugh.
"Sorry if I make things harder for you," she stated, "I never meant to be such a bother."
Neji felt like smacking himself in the face from her cluelessness, childishness, and stupidity. Everything he just stated about her was true. She was being stubborn, and was once again jumping to the farthest conclusion. Before it was tolerable, but now this was just ridiculous. Before Tenten could again escape, Neji, while sitting down, swiftly grabbed Tenten by the wrist. He held on tightly, making her turn back and look at him in surprise. He gave her a slightly troubled look.
"Can you stop running away?" he said, practically annoyed, "And that's not what I meant. Your assumptions make no sense. Just calm down, be patient and hear me out."
Neji, without letting go of her wrist, stood up firmly, and looked at her in the eye. Suddenly, he felt uneasy. He couldn't find the right way to explain everything that's happened. He was surprised that he couldn't be as blunt as she was, and supposedly he's the stronger one. He let out a small breath of frustration. All of a sudden, Tenten felt both Neji's hand move from her wrist to her hand. He held onto it gently and squeezed it softly. She felt a sudden rush of warmth travel up her arm. She gazed into his eyes and started to have uncontrollable butterflies flutter her in stomach. He won this time. Curse his good looks. He took awhile to answer again. Tenten just pouted, remembering that he told her to be patient. She almost laughed though, seeing how frustrated Neji's expression looked. He was frustrated; his mind was giving him thousands of ways to answer her and he couldn't seem to find the right one. He took a deep breath, and closed his eyes tightly before speaking.
"I, um. You're…uh," Neji started off weakly, still lacking of something good to say, " Uh, you and I, we're…um.."
Neji then released his hold on Tenten's hands and covered his face in a troublesome matter.
"Ugh, how do I explain this?" he muffled through his hands before removing them off his face and slowly grabbing onto her hands again.
Tenten just stared, amazed at how much trouble he's having at this. She now understood why this wasn't easy for him; it was all new. New to him, anyways. Neji thought harder, to explain it in a way that he and she will both understand and not get hurt from it. Suddenly, it was as if a light bulb went on in his head, for he now found a some-what perfect way to tell her. He winced thinking over the idea, because it made him seem a bit foolish. This would be the most non-prodigy moment of his life. He twitched, thinking that he was going to risk sounding like Lee. But he had to do it. For her. For them. He took another deep breath, and looked into her eyes.
"Tenten, I'm uh…a pancake," he said slowly, but then decided to go serious, "Remember what you said earlier today? A pancake is fine own it's own, but it would much rather be with something like syrup or whip cream to complete it. Because, like you said, the syrup is what completes it, and the whip cream is what makes it perfect. The pancake wouldn't want to be just by itself because then, it'll be harder for it to be wanted.."
Tenten didn't understand where he was going with this. Noticing that, Neji continued.
"I'm like that, Tenten. I'm that plain pancake that nobody chooses. I have to wait longer to actually be wanted, because I'm incomplete."
Tenten blushed, as he intertwined their fingers together. She was frozen, and she didn't dare move. He looked deeper in his eyes, knowing now that this was his chance. He continued.
"And Tenten, you are my syrup. You are what…completes me. And you're my whip cream, because you are what makes my life perfect. My life was so dull, and lifeless until you arrived. Now that you're in my life, I've felt more wanted. By you. Now I know how it feels to be a pancake…with syrup and whip cream. I finally feel wanted."
Tenten had a very funny look on her face. A funny look that Neji couldn't draw out. Whatever that look was, though, it made him feel like a fool. He started to think that his whole pancake plan didn't work, which would of course, embarrass him and taunt him for the rest of his life. He looked at Tenten again. She was shaking slightly, her lips were pursed tightly together, and her face was becoming redder by the second. He raised a brow. Within a couple more seconds, she burst out in laughter. Neji just stared at her in confusion, and slight shock. He didn't find anything humorous from their conversation.
"Haha, oh my god, Neji, really?!" she laughed, holding onto her stomach for support, "I'm the syrup to your pancakes? Is that the best you came up with? Hahaha, oh my gosh, you had me worrying me like crazy! I…I thought you were going to be more dramatic and scary!"
Neji blushed in embarrassment. He looked down to cover up the red tainted on his cheeks. Now he felt like a fool, despite the fact that his plan went well. Tenten covered her mouth to control her laughter, and when she cooled down, she looked at the very embarrassed Neji, who was still looking down and rubbing the back of his neck shyly. A smile crawled onto her lips and sudden tears formed in her eyes. She let out a small chuckle. Neji looked up and saw her rubbing her tears away with her hand while she continued staring at him with a soft smile.
"Why are you crying?" he asked, worriedly.
"I'm happy, Neji," Tenten replied, laughing as she wiped away her tears, "You have no idea how happy I feel right now. Do you know how long I waited for this moment? Too long, Neji, too long! And now that this moment has finally come, I feel so…so…"
Tenten covered her face with both her hands and more tears of happiness fell from her eyes. Normally she wouldn't be the one to cry, but the feeling was just too overwhelming. Neji could see her smile, though, through her hands that covered her face. Knowing that he made her this happy made him feel like this was the biggest accomplishment he's made in his life. He felt his own smile creeping onto his face. Not being able to again control his happiness, he took a step closer to her and embraced her. He wrapped his arms gently around her, and pulled her in closer. He now knew how it felt to hold his world in his arms. He now knew how it felt to feel truly happy.
He now knew how it felt to be loved.
Tenten embraced him back tightly, enjoying his warmth. She looked up at him and smiled sweetly. Neji smiled softly back, and before he could even blink, Tenten tip-toed slightly and placed her lips gently on his. Neji's eyes widened slightly, and a sudden warm, rush entered his heart. It felt amazing. Tenten quickly released, and backed away. She was also blushing madly, and then started fidgetting with her fingers. She gave Neji a shy smile.
"Ah, um," she said softly, with an awkward laugh, "I just wanted to know how that would feel.."
Neji stared at her shy, childish reaction and couldn't help but again smile. It was cute. She was cute. And she was his. She was his, and his only. She had his heart, as he had hers. And that was a great feeling. Giving her a sincere smile, he opened up his arms towards her. Tenten blinked, but instantly smiled and quickly went back to his embrace. This time, Neji lifted up her face gently with his thumb and placed his lips softly open hers. This kiss was simple, and sweet. Really sweet. He released, and Tenten giggled, embracing him once again.
"Mm?" he said, pressing his lips to her head.
"You tastes like syrup," she giggled.
Neji smirked, forgetting that they have not yet gotten clean since they left the bakery. He gave her one last quick kiss on the lips, and held her hand. As they walked back to his home, Neji felt something hit him sharply on the head. He grunted, and looked down at the object that hit him. He bent down and looked at it oddly.
It was an apple.
Neji looked towards the direction it was thrown, and saw his green teammate just yards away. Lee gave him two thumbs up with a huge grin that made his teeth shine as he did so. Tenten looked at Neji strangely, and then towards the direction he was looking at. However, when she looked, there was no one there. She looked again at Neji.
"What's wrong?" she asked.
Neji just chuckled, and shrugged. He then gestured the apple towards her.
Oh gawd, sorry for the delay everyone! I hope you liked it though. I know it wasn't a good way to end the story, but I wanted to try something comedic for a change, rather than corny. Despite it all, I hope you enjoyed my first story after 3 years. Please check out my previous stories, and feel free to review. Don't forget to read and review on this one as well, please and thanks! Alright, good night everyone!