If you're reading this, you've either eaten or you're suspicious about the food on the tray. I promise it's not poisoned, so eat it if you haven't.

She laughed, because she had contemplated it being tainted when she first saw it. That, or that it was a trap.

I've written this note for you to explain what my plan has been for this all along, so you can decide whether or not you want to talk or keep your silence. I know my actions earlier were a bit out of the ordinary, but what I did was an attempt to get you to speak before I told you what the consequences were.

Alas, you were smart enough to keep silent, so I have no choice but to come clean and tell you what my plan all along was. I want you to stay here. No going back to whatever life you lead, other than being mine.

Her eyes widened as she scanned the rest of the note. It droned on and on about how much he had wanted to trick her into staying, figuring that she would crack easily and talk. She had been shocked to see that, when he had dragged her into his bed, he hadn't been meaning to let her go. He didn't want to see her hurt, though.

Your violence toward me has been uncalled for, in my opinion, but I can deal with the damages you have inflicted. Those alone should give me the right to keep you here forever, but I am fair and I will let this "contest" finish like planned.

I'll see you tomorrow.

The note ended there, and she crumpled it up, throwing it at the wall, before covering her head with her hands and crying herself to a shaky sleep.

When she woke up it felt like morning. The sun was just rising, the sky a flurry of beautiful colors. Her neck hurt from her weird sleeping position, but she shook it off and got up.

There was business to be taken care of.

She ran out of the room, aimlessly looking for wherever someone else would be. If she was going to do this, she was going to end with a bang. Her wandering took her into the kitchen, where the family was eating a large breakfast.

There's nothing else left to do here, she thought, before: "I love you."

Her mouth hadn't opened, though. She hadn't said those words, even though they were the exact ones she was going to use. "Tenten, is that why you're here? You wanted to say that?" She gulped and nodded.

"Wait, wait, wait. She's in love with you?" Hinata asked, her head half-cocked to the side. "But I thought that..."

"I do love him!" she blurted out, and for the first time in days the feeling of words spilled across her lips. "I love his hair and his eyes and his crooked nose and everything about him!"

Was it delirium? Had she finally lost her mind? She had spoken words, but, on top of that, declared love for someone that had kidnapped her. "Now make me stay here. I don't care."

He stood up and walked to her side, towering over her. "I take it you read my note carefully? Good."

"What are you going to do to her? Kill her? Make her your slave?" Even in her seat, it was obvious that Hinata was jumping up and down at all of the possibilities. "There's so much you can do to her! She lost! She really did!"

"Quiet!" they both yelled at the same time, before turning to each other.

"Do you really mean that you love me?" he asked, leaving Tenten to look up into his face and smile a very secret smile. "Or is this a ruse?"

"I think I love you. I don't know for sure, but I'm pretty positive that that's it."

He tapped his chin. "What am I going to do with you, my prisoner? Should I kill you?"

"Oh no, you shouldn't. Neji, I think you should go with your heart on what to do with me. After all, it seems like that's what caused all of this." She poked his chest, right where his heart would be. "Fair enough?"

"Quite fair, indeed."

The spring of that year had been filled with the cold. Summer, blooming romance. Autumn brought heated passion. Winter's presence brought change.

When the cycle restarted itself, the spring didn't have as much cold to it. Rather, it was quite warm sleeping in the arms of love. Seasons continued, and the cold never returned. Silence was not ever present when there was someone to talk to, someone who could listen for hours on end.

And when they traced their fingers over those words on the wall that second spring, they had nothing but the virtue of silence to thank them for where they were.

A/N: Well, that's it. I found it best to finish it like this, however abrupt it ended up being. Yes, I know it's lame and cheesy. But it fits.

I thank everyone who read this, favorited, alerted, and especially reviewed it. Your kind words made this a lot of fun to write, knowing that there were people who actually liked my strange!verse Neji/Tenten fic.

Toward the end, I started finding it harder and harder to continue, trying to make it to my six-chapter goal. :) But that's the end, and I've got no regrets about anything (which I still don't own, by the way).