A/N: I was staring at the empty Starbucks Frappuccino bottle on my desk and I had the itch to write this story. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do now own Naruto.
The wind howled as if it were a lone wolf gazing at the full harvest moon. It swept in, fighting, blowing, and twirling with the falling snow in an icy dance. Icicles dangled from the limbs of naked trees, seeming as if a particularly strong gust were to shake them, they would rattle like chimes.
Two men worked from lamppost to lamppost, draping them in wreaths and bows as the holiday season neared. A pineapple haired man stood on a ladder, precariously balanced half on the sidewalk, half on the street. His partner, a rotund man snacking on a vanilla scone, handed him the decorations one by one, gingerly taking them out of the box and standing on his tiptoes to give them to him. They had begun to work at seven in the morning, and now it was noon, and they still had five more lampposts to finish.
Adults firmly grasped the hands of their children as they completed their Christmas shopping. They bustled back and forth across the pavement, each time with more bags and more crying and whining from their spouses (husbands especially) and kids. "Dear, I think your one hundred nine year old grandmother in Switzerland won't mind if we simply send a card this year" they'd say or "I'm not going another step until you buy me the one thousand dollar gold plated toy train in the store window."
All this Tenten observed from the corner of her eye, as she sat in a crowded, busy Starbucks that particular frigid, dreary day. She absent-mindedly swirled her peppermint mocha with a coffee stirrer and leafed through her anatomy textbook. To be honest, she hadn't absorbed one thing she was reading, and glanced over the same sentence no less than five times. She knew coming to Starbucks was an obviously abysmal idea, especially because she was studying for her semester exams, but she absolutely had to have her coffee, considering how big of a caffeine junkie she was.
She tugged at the fringe sewn on the ends of her black knit scarf, and whipped out a handkerchief to wipe her running nose. And she performed all these actions while repeating something about vertebrae under her breath, still not comprehending one word.
"Do you mind if I join you? They seem to be lacking an adequate amount of tables this afternoon." Tenten did not realize someone was speaking to her and continued her work. But when the question was repeated, particularly addressing her with her name, she looked up. She blinked, immediately recognizing the male cocking his head at her, but not understanding why, though there weren't enough seats, he had decided to approach her of all people.
"Neji, right?" the man nodded, one hand on the back of the chair across from her, the other holding his favorite brew of coffee: black.
"Correct," he responded. Tenten cleared her throat, awkwardness making the air seem just that much heavier.
"Umm… please sit down," she told him, gesturing at the seat he was already pulling out. At first the two were quiet, Neji sipped his beverage, Tenten went back to her studying. But after awhile, the Hyuuga pulled a rather curious book from his bag. The Study of Contemporary Art for Mind and Pleasure, the title read.
"You're majoring in art?" she asked, a bit surprised. She couldn't imagine someone so gorgeous, yet proper and eloquent, dressed in a paint-covered smock, sketching a picture. He chuckled.
"No, it's more of a hobby. I'm studying to become a lawyer." This was easier to imagine for the brunette. He would be wearing an expensive, tailored, designer suit, questioning the defendant's witness till everyone in the courtroom was ready to fall out of his or her seats in suspense and admiration.
"Anatomy? You're becoming a doctor or something in the field of medicine, I presume," he noted, reading the title of her book while she was entrapped in her short daydream.
"Huh? Oh yes. I want to be a spine surgeon," she answered, her gaze falling back to the text. She lifted the mug of caffeine goodness to he lips and took a generous gulp.
"Careful, you wouldn't want to burn your tongue," Neji warned, smirking in amusement. The fact that he actually had a sense of humor, though subtle, was rather shocking. He was renowned at Harvard University as being a human ice cube. He was the only male who refused to date or join in any social gathering of the sort. He was invited to every party, but purposely passed the invitation along to his eccentric roommate, Naruto. All this was done to annoy the girls that peeked around every corner as they watched him walk home, no doubt.
"It's been sitting untouched for half an hour. It's gone cold," she assured him, her perspective changing as she watched him flip open his book. He was going to ignore her now, she assumed, and probably forget this encounter ever happened. But he had known her name: that had to count as something.
"This is one my favorite artists, Gerhard Richter," he said, leaning across the table and showing her a picture of the man. He then flipped a few pages ahead, and again, tilted the book in her direction. Their arms brushed against each other, sending an electric jolt through their systems. " I really like this portrait Woman Descending the Staircase," Neji continued, trying to suppress his blush," His work is a mix between abstraction and reality; I find it fascinating, though I know most would disagree. I'm planning to visit the Art Institute of Chicago during break and see the exhibits showcasing his pictures." Neji, closed the book and stuffed it in his bag.
Tenten digested the information, or at least tried to, but like her studies, she had found one more thing to distract her.
"Where are you from?" he asked her, resting his elbows on the table.
"Same. Will you be going there for the holidays? I'd love to meet up with you sometime. Maybe we could visit the institute together," He proposed.
He was asking her on a date, she soon realized, and she had to clamp her mouth shut quickly, lest she said something embarrassing. "S-sure. We could meet up…" She wasn't going on vacation, but she made a mental note to book a flight as soon as she reached back to her apartment.
Neji smiled at her, a genuine sincere smile. "Wonderful. I'd best be going now," he said, standing up. "Good luck with your studying and all." He waved when he reached the door, before stepping out to brace the elements.
Tenten sighed contently, shutting her book, her thoughts wandering. She was sure she would flunk her exams, but it wouldn't matter, not when she'd be spending her favorite holiday with Neji Hyuuga.
That evening, as she gushed about the day's events to Sakura (roommate) over dinner, the strawberry blonde couldn't help but chuckle at her friend's sudden burst of energy.
"…And he asked me to spend Christmas with him in Chicago! I already booked a flight, too," Tenten exclaimed, arms flailing in the air.
The Haruno's smile quickly turned into a frown. She would be spending Christmas alone then.
Perhaps blackmailing Neji into confessing his feelings for Tenten, and then forcing him to finally ask her out, was not such a good idea.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading and please review!