A/N: I was surprised at how many people actually liked this. So, thank you to everyone who read, reviewed, etc. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
She was choking, sputtering, gasping for breath. The world was starting to blur. She clawed at the water around her, wanting to drown, wanting it to force her down, but it wouldn't.
There was a flash, shouting, and heavy hands grasping her wrists and hoisting her out of a watery grave. She struggled, squirming till they dropped her. But it was to no avail; the hands grabbed her again and pulled her to safety.
Tenten sat up, blinking as her eyes adjusted to the dark. She clutched the covers draped over her body as she searched the room for life.
There was none. She was alone. She couldn't say she disliked the loneliness, in fact, she preferred it, chose it, and it nearly killed her.
She swallowed, her throat dry. She coughed, turning to the bedside table for a glass of water. She expected one to be there, and so it was. She reached for it, her hands trembling as she raised it to her lips and took a gulp.
She wasn't sure where she was; it was certainly not a hospital, nor a hotel room. It seemed more like a home.
And then she smelled it, him. Immediately her head snapped in the direction of the window. Sitting below the ledge was a figure.
"Neji…" she thought. Her fingers twitched, and she dropped the cup. It shattered on the ground, waking the Hyuuga from whatever trance had captivated him. He looked at her, his eyes illuminated by the moonlight.
"Tenten?" he whispered. The female bit her lip, unsure if she should answer or not. Neji got to his feet, wobbling as if he had been sitting for long time. He made his way over to her, trapping her hand in his own.
"What were you thinking?" he demanded. Tenten blinked, surprised at the sudden shift in atmosphere.
"What?" the Murakami croaked.
Neji sighed and sat down beside her. He stroked her cheek and pressed his forehead to hers.
"You nearly died!" he exclaimed.
"What if I wanted to?" Tenten asked, after a momentary pause. Neji seemed flabbergasted by the notion.
"Wanted to! Tenten, what about your family, your fiancé, your dreams? Huh?" he questioned. He did not dare to include himself in the bunch; even though he was quite sure he would be affected the most by her death.
"I don't like him, my fiancé. We're just getting married for the sake of having a spouse. Someone to cut our work loads in half. He's been my best friend for years, but-but every time he thinks about our marriage-every time I think about it- I-I just want to cry. We don't want this, but there is no other option for us left!" she cried.
"You do have another option!" Neji insisted.
"And what would that be?" she demanded.
"Run away with me." The sentence hung in the air between them. Both of them wanted it, but one wasn't willing and the other was a fool.
"Run away?" the Murakami whispered, "Are you mad?"
Neji shook his head. "I want you to be with me, always," he told her, gently slipping her engagement ring off her finger. It rolled off the bed and landed among the shards of glass on the floor with a soft "tink."
"Neji… why… how did you even get me here? Where is 'here' anyway?" the female quickly changed the subject, requiring some time to think.
"This is my home. You see, I turned back after an hour of driving. I really couldn't just leave you like that. So, when I got back to the bridge, there was a crowd of people watching a rescue team. I nearly fainted when I saw it was you they were fishing out of the water. I didn't want them to take you to the hospital, but they insisted you could be injured and may die if you don't get medical attention. So, I let them, but I-I lied and told them I was your husband and so, they let me take you home.
I met your fiancé, by the way. He was angry, and he-he kept saying I was kidnapping you and that I really wasn't your husband, I was a complete stranger, but since I had come first and looked a hell of a lot more worried than he did, they believed me. And that's why you're here," he explained, "No come with me. Far away from here."
"Neji, I can't just do that! What about Shikamaru? And-" Tenten's argument was interrupted.
"What about you? It's nice that you care about him, but what do you want?" Neji asked her.
"I-I don't know what I want," the female answered, "But, I think running away will make matters worse."
"Tenten, tell me right now. Do you love me?" The Hyuuga questioned. Tenten swallowed and bit her lip. If she responded, she would most certainly say something that would hurt him. She was never good at being tactless. And so she looked down at her hands, hoping he'd leave her alone for the moment. But to her despair, he placed a finger under her chin and forced her to look at him.
"I love you," he told her, pronouncing every word slowly so she would understand and make no false interpretations. He made move to leave, but Tenten grabbed his elbow and pulled him back down. He leaned forward, till their lips nearly brushed against each other.
She didn't know what had possessed her to do that, but she didn't like how cold it was when he wasn't near her. "Tenten, tell me right now. I need to know."
She nodded, first slowly, than furiously, pressing her forehead to his, doing nothing but crying. "I-I do lo-lo-like you," she hesitated at the last second.
"Love, Tenten. Like isn't the same as love," Neji insisted.
"I can't say that! I'm not sure," the Murakami cried, "Just stop asking!" Neji frowned, looking quite angry and a bit disappointed.
"When are you flying back home?" he asked, fed up with running in circles.
"Home? I don't have a home," the female said, knowing it was nearly true.
"Excuse me? Do you take me for a fool! Of course you have a home!" he shouted, enraged.
"I have a house, Neji. Not a home. A home is your haven. A place where there's someone you love. It's a place very dear to you. A house is a shelter, just a resting quarter, nothing more. Understand?" she told him, wiping the last few tears that dared to drop.
Neji was silent, fists clenched, and his facial muscles pulled taught, wrinkling his skin. He stormed out of the room, slamming the door as hard as he could.
Tenten glared at the blankets, quite disturbed by the hour's events. She lay down, staring at the ceiling, absolutely restless. When Mrs. Hyuuga (Neji's mother) came up to tell her breakfast was ready, the Murakami had just finished shifting her position for the fiftieth time.
"Dear, breakfast is on the table. Come eat," the woman said softly, sitting down at the edge of the bed and placing her hand on Tenten's shoulder. Tenten didn't respond, still upset.
"He's been sitting on the porch for hours, thinking about you I'm sure. You can talk to him afterwards. I think he's sobered down a bit," the Hyuuga told her, finally attracting her attention. Tenten grudgingly followed her down the stairs, praying everyone would be silent during the meal. She was in no mood of conversing even the most trivial topic, even one that interested her.
Breakfast consisted of omelets, pancakes, hash browns, and the likes. It helped lighten her mood just a tiny bit, but she knew that confronting Neji was the only way for her to feel whole again.
And so she did, stuffing an English muffin in her mouth before opening the screen door to the porch. Neji was seated on a swing, his head bowed and his hands intertwined.
"Did you eat?" she asked, gingerly lowering herself next to him. Neji didn't respond, and even turned his head in the opposite direction.
"I know you're upset, but-fine, look here, I-I-upstairs I think-" she started, trying to form a coherent sentence.
"I no longer wish to concern myself with you," the white-eyed male cut her off again, "Just leave."
"No! I-I really do-umm… you know…"
"No, I don't know. Care to enlighten me?" Neji said. He was trying to get her to say the three words that would most certainly change her life forever. She wanted to say them, but something was holding her back. Fear was preventing her from reaching her happiness, she soon realized.
"Mr. Hyuuga," he corrected her. Tenten heaved a sigh.
"Fine, Mr. Hyuuga, you can't pressure me into saying anything I don't want to. If you'd let our relationship thrive, than maybe, there would come a time when I could say it. Alright?" she proposed.
"Say what?" he questioned, turning to meet her gaze.
"I lo-" she stopped herself.
"You…" Neji urged.
"Stop. You think this is a joke? You think if I said it by being tricked, it'd mean anything? You're a fool, Mr. Hyuuga," Tenten told him, glaring. Neji was silent.
"Fine," when he spoke again, his voice was trembling. It seemed so distant and tiny. "If I give you time. If I let 'our relationship thrive' as you put it, will you come with me?" he asked.
Tenten thought about this for a moment, before nodding, "Fine. But where are we going?"
Neji managed to crack a small smile, "We're going to find you a home."
A/N: Thank you for reading and please review!