Title: Keep It Quiet

Characters: Tenten, Neji, mention of Lee

Summary: She is Tenten, just Tenten, and he is a Hyuuga, the Neji Hyuuga, and there isn't much she can do about it.

Keep It Quiet

She knows that it is wrong.

For several reasons, actually.

One, she is a kunoichi. Her first and foremost devotion should be to the village she had sworn to protect, her fidelity to the oath she made after graduating from the Academy. It is her lifelong dream—to be a great kunoichi just like her idol Tsunade-sama, to uphold the laws of Konoha and put nothing above her vow to serve the village until her last dying breath. Any distraction could cost the success of her mission, or worse, her life.

Second, she is a nobody. Nobody in the sense that she didn't have any bloodline limit, no powerful clan or relative she could be proud of. She is just an ordinary girl, orphaned at an early age, struggling to leave a mark in the world, to not dissolve into nothingness after she dies. She couldn't, shouldn't, dare hope, dream, that she could be somebody else, or worse, that someone important, would see her as somebody she is not.

Third, she is a member of Team Gai. And although there are no written codes or rules forbidding relationships to blossom inside a four-man cell, she knows it is still wrong, because they are practically a family, and nothing would ruin their chemistry more than the admittance that she fell, hard, for one of her teammates.

She could list countless reasons more, and it wouldn't matter. In the end, the verdict would be the same: she cannot, must not, fall in love with Neji Hyuuga.

So she forces herself not to.

Because he is always there, just a faint whisper away, but they are still a world apart.

Because they are two halves of two different wholes, and there is no way to make them fit, not even if she tries to make her edges rougher, just so she can match the jagged outlines of his heart.

Because breathing without him makes her body grow cold, but it is still better than not breathing at all.

Because she is Tenten, just Tenten, and he is a Hyuuga, the Neji Hyuuga, and it will always be that way, and there isn't really much she can do about it.

Still, there are rare times when he would smile her way, very faintly, so small that no one save her would have noticed; or he would nod at her when she perfects a new technique, as if silently congratulating her for her success; or he would knit his eyebrows together for just a fraction of a millimeter, when she is hurt during training or a mission or from an overly enthusiastic Lee-bear hug—and her heart would just soar.

And she finds herself smiling at nothing in particular, and she thinks that maybe, just maybe, this is enough.

I've had this idea of doing a one-shot collection of NejiTen drabbles, moments and what-nots for quite a while now, but never really acted on it. I've finally gotten around to it now. Some will be bittersweet, others just bitter, but I promise to try and insert humor in them if I can. I hope this first shot passes the critique of the countless NejiTen fans out there in the wild, uh, I mean, in the world.

062812 update:

Revised a bit. Nothing too major. Oh, the lyrics are gone though.