A/N: I present to you, my spontaneous idea of the day! Also, I am now on break. Updates should be coming within the next week.
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Tenten slowly stirred from sleep, her eyes peering from beneath her lids as her vision came into focus. Sunlight stretched its long golden fingers across her blanket, warming her body and mind into a relaxed groggy state. She pushed on her elbows, willing herself to sit. However, shooting pangs of pain rushed through the lengths of her arms, and hissing, she sank back into the cushions.
"Careful," warned a deep masculine voice as a hand squeezed its way between the mattress and her back and pushed her up. Tenten let out a small groan and stretched as much as she could to loosen her sore muscles. Neji straightened his spine, surveying her bandaged arms with narrowed eyes.
"T-thank you," Tenten said softly, biting her lip as more jabs of pain ran through her limbs. Neji did not reply, but picked up a tray laden with a bowl, spoon, and glass of water from the bedside table, and sat down at the edge of her mattress. They did not speak for a minute, relishing the silence of the morning.
"You must be hungry," the Hyuuga commented as he caught Tenten's eye gazing rather ravenously at the bowl in his hands. "I managed to scrap together something decent. Fortunately, this inn was not vacated too long ago. " He gathered what looked like buttery rice into the dip of the spoon and moved a fraction of an inch closer to her. Tenten's eyes widened as she understood what he meant to do, her cheeks flushing in embarrassment.
"You don't have to do that," she mumbled, the tips of her ears burning. "Y-you could have just sent Lee or-"
"Lee would have jabbed the spoon through the backside of your neck. Gai would have shoved it down your windpipe," the Hyuuga interrupted her, somewhat amused. "The Allied Forces don't need another casualty, " he added quietly after a moment. He again leaned closer to her, putting one hand beneath her chin while the other maneuvered the spoon into her mouth.
Tenten chewed quietly, her gaze shifting throughout the room. Team Gai had retreated to an abandoned inn on the outskirt of the forest. It was grimy and dim, but it was much safer than a canvas tent hidden behind a bush. Tenten had been injured and rendered unconscious near the end of the battle. Without a protective curtain of fatal steel, Gai, Lee, and Neji had sought refuge.
"Where are the other two anyway?" Tenten asked, after swallowing.
"Gai has been penning messages to an allied team nearby. Lee is err… exercising." Neji winced slightly as the last word left his mouth, surely imagining their green-clad teammate stretching in some inhumane manner. Tenten managed to crack a smile. She was confident Lee had asked Neji to join him in his eccentric training.
They lapsed into silence again, Neji mechanically shoveling food into her mouth, his fingers maintaining their feather-light touch on her chin. His gaze was glued to the spoon, only wandering to her face for seconds at a time. When she had finished, the Hyuuga placed the bowl back on the tray and again raked his eyes over her form. He frowned with disapproval. "Those medics were quite hasty in mending your arms. I'll have to re-bandage them and possibly fix some of the stitches," he said, reaching out to prod her limbs.
"It's not their fault. My injuries are not so serious. They needed to attend to those who were more severely damaged," Tenten told him, hissing as he touched a heavily bruised spot. The Hyuuga withdrew his fingers and reached for the glass of water. He shifted to put an arm around her shoulders for support and tilted the rim of the cup between her parted lips. She drained the glass quickly, noticing for the first time just how sore her throat felt.
"Thanks," she mumbled again, her face reddening, as she comprehended just how helpless she was without her arms. "But still, you didn't have to-"
"There are a lot of things I would do for you, Tenten. You have caused me no inconvenience," Neji grunted in a voice much smaller than his own. The female, had she known any better, would have thought this to be a sign of shyness. But then again, Neji was always rather upfront with her. I'll need to clean out my ears, she mused.
They did not speak again for at least ten minutes, Neji's arm still draped around her shoulders, and her body tucked into his side. "We're already eighteen," Tenten finally said, her visage pensive. Neji turned to look at her, one eyebrow raised in inquiry.
"We are," he murmured, searching her face curiously. Tenten kept quiet, not exactly sure how to broach the subject. She hesitated when she opened her mouth to speak again, pressed her lips together, and shook her head.
"What are you thinking?" Neji asked, his tone sounding oddly concerned.
"We're so young, yet… shinobi- who knows how long we'll live. And-well- for me I guess it doesn't matter. I really don't have anyone waiting on me."
"You have all the shinobi of Konoha. We're your family. We care. You have Lee, Gai, Naruto, Ino, Sakura, Hinata, everyone. You have me." Now it was Tenten's turn to look at him in surprise. He didn't often provide any input in emotional matters. He was always the practical one, recalling her to her senses.
"Oh, Neji, I-I didn't mean family wise," she told him, looking down at her hands, her face becoming a permanent shade of scarlet.
"I'm afraid that I don't understand then. What did you mean?" Neji questioned. Tenten thought he was being rather talkative today. What had she missed during her hours unconscious? Or maybe the blow had caused her brain to malfunction. She twisted her lips not wanting to answer. Neji would find her worry to be an unnecessary burden on the mind and would lose no time in telling her so.
"I meant as a- as a lover," she whispered, avoiding his eyes. The room began to feel hot and cramped and she balled her sweaty palms into fists. The man beside her and had suddenly gone rigid. He's going to leave, she thought, still staring at her hands.
"You have me," Neji repeated after a minute in the same quiet shy voice. He too was avoiding her gaze. Tenten blinked uncomprehendingly.
"Uh- N-Neji I said as-as-"
"I know," Neji told her quickly, daring a glance at her blank face. It took a minute for her to realize it was as close to a confession as she was ever going to get out of the Hyuuga. Her insides did an uncomfortable flip and everything seemed to drop to the pit of her stomach. She jerked his chin so as to look at him properly. His eyes showed no sign of amusement nor hinted towards falsehood. His lilac orbs glowed with genuine sincerity.
"I have you," she voiced, the words a bit foreign on her tongue. Neji's eyes penetrated her soul, and she felt like shriveling under their intensity. But a new flash of emotion kept her transfixed. It was love. Neji loved her.
"You have me," Neji confirmed. Tenten liked the feel of his moving jaw against her fingers and moved to cup his cheek in her hand. The Hyuuga remained still, though his arm dropped to encircle her back. Slowly, he leaned forward, brushing his lips gently against hers. He retreated quickly, however, waiting for her reaction.
Tenten inhaled a shaky breath, trying to shape her lips into what came out as a huge grin. The Hyuuga flashed his own rare small smile before inclining his neck to plant a kiss on her forehead.
Tenten knew she did not need to reply.
He had always known he had her.
"I'll be back to feed you lunch," he said, smirking at her over his shoulder as he got up. Tenten's grin grew wider. Perhaps being helpless wasn't so bad after all.
A/N: Who wouldn't want Neji to feed them first thing in the morning? I felt this story just came out a little… different from how I usually write. Maybe that's just me. Nevertheless, I hope you liked it!
Thank you for reading and please review!