notes: Written quickly and as an attempt to escape from studying, so it's with minimum editing. Formatting isn't originally this way, but FFnet sucks and decides to cut off a whole bunch, so I gave up.


fragmented dreams
you cut me open and I—
keep bleeding,
keep, keep bleeding love.

one
day
you'll

fall—fall—fall—
fall

for
this
boy,

She is young, butterflies and fairies and unicorns reflected in her eyes as she glides across the floor, gown twirling around her. She almost trips, for she is clumsy and does not hide it well, while her dancing teacher frowns and mutters under her breath just how unfitting and disgraceful she is, and her dancing partner looks like he would rather get hanged than hold her in his arms like this.

He is also young but two years older, his hands shoved into his pockets and his chin high in the air (and lips pressed thin and eyebrows furrowed and nose scrunched in disgust) as his eyes follow her every movement. He doesn't want to be here, not now and not ever, but his uncle's wishes are his commands and really, he is only a prisoner in his own house (that dull white house with its dull white walls and dull white-eyed people who are afraid of that snakelike, filthy bastard).

Quietly, he wonders if he'll get the chance to fulfill his dirty deeds soon (for when she dies, he is free).

When she is done, the King calls them and they stand side by side.

"Tenten," he says with the gentleness of a father, "This is Neji."

She looks at him with the innocence and curiosity of a fourteen-year-old and smiles, "Hello, Neji."

"Princess," he returns, giving a polite bow, "Do you want to dance?"

He is only sixteen and by no means a fitting partner for the Princess, but he knows his steps well. When she simply nods and takes his extended hand, he leads her to the dance floor and his hand settles on the small of her back.

She blushes every time she steps on his foot (she doesn't dance well, not yet, and she's stepped on his foot at least fifteen times), and the seventeenth time she does, he tells her it doesn't and won't ever hurt.

The Princess doesn't step on his foot anymore for the rest of their dance and he wonders, idly, if she's seen through his facade and knows that there's a knife in his pocket, or if she just magically gets better at dancing.

He'll never know that it is neither; it's just that for a moment there, she tries her hardest not to step on his foot.

and he

t o u c h e s
you

with his
fingers,

She is seventeen when they meet for the second time and the King appoints him to be her knight.

It hasn't been that long (three years is nothing but several minutes for this man) but already she's forgotten his name.

"Hyuuga Neji," he answers when she asks, his voice deep and rough, "Pleased to make your acquaintance, Princess."

She nods, smiles, and offers her hand.

When he kisses the back of her hand without hesitating, like a true gentleman would, she flinches and turns bright red immediately. His touch is electricity and static and when he returns her smile it looks more like a smirk, and his expression is that like he owns the world, like he owns everything in the world, and like he owns her.

It sends chills down her spine.

It is not an entirely unwelcome sensation, but her throat constricts and she wonders if she is well-behaved and well-trained enough to do this.

"You can call me Tenten," she says, finally, and then proceeds to tell him that she's going to spend the rest of the morning in the training ground.

She hasn't changed—much—and she still looks at him with the same curiosity she held in her eyes three years ago, and realizing this he shoves his hand into his pocket.

He's cut his finger on his father's knife, but he doesn't mind, for freedom is within his grasp.

Freedom is near.

and he

b u r n s
holes

in your skin
with his
mouth,

Her eyes are bright and he is thisclose to her and he can see his reflection in her eyes.

Her finger is on his cheek, and then on his nose and then on his lips, and everywhere it goes she leaves little trails of cold, icy fire underneath his skin. Abruptly he stills himself and catches her hand, drawing it away from him.

A soft giggle escapes her lips and she raises a curious brow, "Are you really that affected by me?"

"Yes," he replies, because it's the truth and he can't lie to her anyway.

"I'm happy, you know."

"I know," he cups her chin and leans forward, close enough to feel her breath but not close enough to kiss her, and their eyes meet; warm earthly brown to cold winter white.

She smiles and touches his lips with a finger again, "I think I'm in love—"

One second and his lips are on her jaw, and the next he has drawn away.

"Don't be stupid," he mutters, remembering the cold touch of the blade in his pocket and the way it cuts open the skin.

She pulls him closer and her smile is teasing but her eyes are filled with hurt, "Don't you be stupid."

"I'm not," he growls, and suddenly his hand is running down her back and his lips are on the curve of her shoulder and he breathes into her hair. Her eyes close as she clings to him, and he wonders, idly, if this—if she is his chance at redemption.

When he releases her without so much doing anything, she opens her eyes and smiles at him.

"Neji," she whispers, liquid fire burning in her eyes, "I'm in love with you."

Something inside him (his heart, his head, his mind; he can't see the difference) stirs and flutters to life, and this time, he kisses her.

and it hurts
when you look at
him,

It would be so easy.

The King is fast asleep now, and he just needs to lean forward a tiny bit to touch the sleeping man, and then the skin will give like thin water and blood will spill like water.

It would be so easy.

His fingers curl around the hilt of the knife in his pocket, and he takes it out. The silver blade glints beautifully under the moonlight and he can see his reflection on it, white eyes and long dark hair and the perturbing mark of obedience on his forehead.

This is a rule he is bound to, a rule of his house, a rule of the clan he desperately wants to save—and this is his chance at it. It would be so easy. Just one movement, one soul leaving this dark and ugly world, and she will be free.

Free as a bird.

He moves forward and puts the edge of the blade closer to the neck of his soon-to-be victim.

Just one little movement.

The door opens with a soft click and he turns around, not bothering to hide his knife or even so much move an inch. He's seen this coming, although it's his worst nightmare.

Tenten stands there, her eyes fixated to the glinting blade, and then looks at him. When he stares back at her, unflinching and almost emotionless, she steps forward and takes the blade from him, wrapping it with blue (not pink) silk and holding it close to her.

"I'm not going to apologize," he tells her.

She looks at him impassively, "You didn't do anything."

Her unspoken 'yet' lingers heavily in the air around them, but she says nothing as she turns around and walks out of the room, head held high in the air and back straight. He follows suit, because he is her knight, she is his Princess and this is what they do.

and it hurts
when you
don't.

"It's Orochimaru's order," he begins, once they are in her room and surrounded by walls and locked doors.

"I know," she replies calmly, "I'm still here, though."

"He doesn't think of you as a threat," Neji says quietly.

She smirks, "Because you know everything there is to know about me?"

"No," he responds, "Because you're not of age yet."

She looks at him quietly and then reaches out a hand to cradle his cheek, "Do you really need to kill my father to protect me, Neji?"

He closes his eyes and covers her hand with his, "You're not fit to rule the kingdom until you're twenty five."

"Says who?"

"Says your father in his will," he replies quietly, "And if he dies before that, you'll be sent away to live with the Uchihas until you're fit enough to rule, which might be never—which would be never. If I kill him now—if I kill your father now, you'll be sent away and I'll make sure you never come back here."

She smiles, but her smile is none too bright, "Such little faith you have in me."

"I want you to be safe."

"So you're going to do anything in your power to keep me from taking the throne," she says, matter-of-factly, and then sighs, "Can't I be safe and happy at the same time, Neji?"

"Is it happiness you feel when someone is always out looking for a way to your downfall, Tenten?" he retorts back, anger in his usually emotionless eyes, "Orochimaru is waiting to kill you—"

"—through you," she interrupts, and then touches his nose, "and that's why you're here, right? To kill me, so that when my father passes away, there'll be no one but Orochimaru to take care of the kingdom," and then she asks, her voice very, very soft, "Are you going to kill me, Neji?"

He looks at her, hurt, "What kind of question is that?"

"Exactly," her smile brightens, "Then I should be safe."

"Not for long."

"Maybe not," her eyes gleam under the moonlight, and she smiles, "But I have you and that's enough."

"No," he whispers, "Not forever."

one
day
you'll

fall—fall—fall—
fall

for
this
boy,

"I'm taking you to the Uchihas. We leave tonight."

"No," she protests, "Father is sick and I want to be by his side."

He looks at her, annoyed, "This is Orochimaru's plan."

"So be it."

"Do you want the kingdom to fall to his hands? Someone like him?" he asks, voice rising.

She shakes her head, "It won't happen."

"How do you know? He's going to kill you soon, you know," he whispers, "since I am of no use anymore."

"That's not true," she smiles, leaning forward to kiss his jaw, "You're going to protect me from him, aren't you?"

"With my life," he swears, not an ounce of hesitation is his eyes.

"Then I'll live," she tells him, her voice strong and her eyes full of determination, "I won't leave this kingdom, Neji. This is my home, and I won't let anything happen to it, even if I have to die. But I won't, since you're here and you'll protect me and we will live."

He sighs, "You never listen."

"You know that already, so why try?" she retorts.

"He's coming tonight."

She smiles, lifts her pillow and takes her blue silk from under it. Unwrapping it, she returns to him his knife, "You are never of no use, Neji," she says, her voice bright and strong, covering his fingers with hers, "and after tonight, you will be free."

"I—" he hesitates, "I love you, you know? Always have—always will."

Not moving an inch, her smile widens, "Yes."

(is this love?)

"Tell me where the Princess is."

"Never."

Orochimaru's snakelike eyes narrowed and he glares at the Hyuuga, "Since when do you have the right to bargain with me, child? This isn't in our original deal."

"So is killing the Princess," he returns calmly, his fingers clenching around the hilt of his knife, "There are a lot of things you've done that aren't in our original deal, Orochimaru. Killing my father and uncle included. That deal no longer exists."

"Then let's make a new one," Orochimaru smirks, "You kill the Princess by midnight, and I'll free your clan from my curse."

Neji closes his eyes, and then opens them again, "No."

"No, child? Is that a no?"

"No," he repeats, and says, "My clan will always be prisoners until you die."

"Took you long enough to realize," the man laughs, loud and thunderous, "So what are you going to do about that, huh?"

His knife firm on his grip, he points it to his enemy, "I'm going to kill you, Orochimaru."

(is this love?)

He's going to be the hero.

He's going to be the hero, and she's going to let him go after this, because he deserves it and because she thinks it is love.

It is love when she puts aside her own feelings and holds his more important than hers.

It is love when she can think of nothing but him and on every single touch, her hell runs parallel to her heaven.

It is love when she cherishes everything about him that hurts.

She clasps her hands together and prays.

and it feels like

(she)

someone's
cut you
open

(is)

with a
jagged
piece
of

(falling.)

glass.

He returns to her side at midnight, blood and broken bones and all, but he is beating and breathing and alive, and she wraps the knife in blue silk again, and then waits.

"I'm not going anywhere," he whispers.

She smiles and pulls him down to her, "Then welcome home."

.

end.


notes: Lyrics above are from Bleeding Love by Leona Lewis. Also, this quote is from The Tracey Fragments:

"One day you fall for this boy. And he touches you with his fingers. And he burns holes in your skin with his mouth. And it hurts when you look at him. And it hurts when you don't. And it feels like someone's cut you open with a jagged piece of glass."

Have you ever felt like that? :)