Disclaimer:I do not own Naruto.
Beneath the Spinning Sky
Her breath comes in short bursts; she gazes up at him, watching his eyes burn like silver moons, and she sighs, conceding defeat.
She could have taken it out of the tree with a simple flick of sharpened metal, but she rather enjoys the slightly glossy expression on the Hyuuga's face as she reaches up high to pluck the apple, blouse skimming over the taut muscles of her abdomen.
She's beginning to think Neji might be insane because she strictly recalls a blizzard warning, so what on earth is she doing getting dressed; breaking into a run that does nothing to warm her bones, she resolves to cancel their session for today, only to find him waiting in the frost to invite her to the Hyuuga compound for their spar.
That fly, she seethes, vein throbbing in her temple, needed to die already—she swats it with the same precision she commands on the battlefield, and is satisfied and mortified all at once when it does expire, right on her teammate's pale face.
She is admittedly a little aggravated about the coffee stain on her blouse—she had been rather distracted that morning—but did he really have to stare at her right there?
She stumbles, worn and bloody from battle, blinding retracing her steps in the dead of night; a rustle, Tenten grips the blade in her hand, but eyes that glow like the moon appear in the thicket and she relaxes.
Tenten sees it a moment before Neji does—he knows, that bastard knows!—and throws herself between the enemy and the blind spot; swathes of crimson spill to the floor, and before her eyes shut she can only remember being glad that it is hers and not his.
She slides open the door, still readjusting the towel around herself—Ino, do you happen to have an extra hairclip—but can no longer finish because she is staring at a very naked Hyuuga Neji.
She does not return to the room that night, drinking herself into an agitated stupor; Hinata comes down to look for her, and Tenten blurts and slurs something about Neji's nudity, how embarrassed she is, shocking the younger kunoichi—and suddenly she no longer needs to ask why Tenten never did join the girls at the onsen.
Guarding the daimyo takes her mind off the sensational episode—that is, until her fellow sentry Sakura is replaced by a familiar—but thankfully clothed!—whited-eyed genius, and Tenten does her damned best to keep her scandalous eyes away from him, staring determinedly down the empty corridors.
She is thrown, disarmed, backwards into the dirt; Neji comes down on her fast and hard, a knife-sharp edge against her neck, and she curses in spite of herself, because she knows she could have won this round if only she hadn't been thinking about how she could slice all of his clothes off.
She knows this is the end for them, but she refuses with every fiber of her being to go down without a fight; when she wakes to a vision of ivory and her name on his lips, she can't help but think the end must be the most beautiful thing in the world.
She is the autumn, and he is the winter; the death of her brings all to their knees at his icy mercy.
She watches in horror as the enemy entraps them in a wheel of fire, determined to bring this flaming building down on the both of them if he cannot claim victory; with slash of helpless fury, she ends him and knows she will never make it out alive—the beams snap and come roaring down on her, but before she can raise her arms, her body and precious weapons are protected by a sphere of warm chakra, and she collapses to her knees, spent and safe inside the Heavenly Spin.
She swings amiably backward and drops unannounced, hanging upside down from a branch, meaning to surprise him—but knowing she never can—and he stares at her with a curious look, before she indulges herself and pecks him on the lips, grinning as she watches his upside-down expression transform into one of shock.
No one can jump as high as she can, and she's delighted at times to remind her team of that; but no one can catch her when she falls, laughing, quite like he can, so she really has nothing to brag about.
While Lee consumes her special lunchbox meal with a vigor that rivals a five-year-old that knows not the meaning of moderation, Neji picks at the food she's made at the sedate pace of a fifty-year-old grandfather; she flushes and wonders aloud if it's alright—"I'm savoring it," he answers, with a very faint, almost untraceable smile.
She sometimes waits for Neji at a respectable distance outside of the Hyuuga compound, so when the gate opens and she's beckoned to come inside by an elderly Hyuuga, she points open-mouthed at herself—Are you talking to me?—and wonders why now of all times she's decided to contract foot-in-mouth disease.
For some unexplained reason, Neji discovers, Tenten melts away the grave expressions of any Hyuuga she speaks to, including his own.
They both react violently to the idea of donning the green spandex suit, but Neji cannot keep his traitorous mind from wondering how her—ahem—posterior would look in that form-fitting wear.
Tenten sometimes forgets that she is ahead of the rookie girls by a year, but she's reminded when they are all barely getting engaged and she is freshly married.
She raps her knuckles against the watermelon—see, it should sound like this!—and Neji nods, but does not anticipate the hammer that smashes into it a second later.
The clansmen are so intrigued by Tenten's adaptability to fighting the Byakugan that they insist she come over more often—she's flattered, but he's sullen, for he had not intended on sharing.
"I was impressed with your teammate's combative skill during the war," remarks Hiashi, and Neji knows that is a signal of approval if he ever heard one.
In the day, they are teammates; in the night, they are lovers—that may be why she enjoys their evening spars so much.
When Lee speeds off out of sight with their only map, Tenten throws her hands up in the air, certain that they will end up lost without it, but complains no further; when Neji asks, she shrugs—"I don't mind being lost, if I'm lost with you."
Neji knows that nothing earns Tenten's adoration like an exotic new set of forged metal weaponry.
She finds that the reaction she gets from straddling him to the ground at eighteen is much, much different than the reaction she got from straddling him to the ground at twelve.
Neji is secretly pleased to find that Tenten handles children just as well as she handles stuffy, old Hyuugas.
Once in a while, when she just can't handle the silly green duo anymore, she huffs, throws some explosives around, then takes her seat next to Neji and meditates.
When Hanabi catches them kissing just outside of the gates, the look she gives her is absolutely venomous, until Tenten gives her a peck on the cheek, too.
Tenten cannot believe she did something so stupid, twisting first her right then her left ankle on a pair of high heels; she buries her face in her hands, muttering her apologies, as Neji lifts her off the ground and begins to walk her home, a smirk playing transparently on his face.
They're soaked to the bone, having traveled three straight days in the rain; Neji is annoyed to find that Tenten is still good-humored enough to consider their charge's offer to take her to dinner—so annoyed, in fact, that he tells him she cannot, because she has already made plans to have dinner with him.
The young man's hopeful expression peters out like a candle on its last piece of wax; Tenten, however, sends him a playful look that asks really now, when did I ever agree to that?
Tenten is more than a little ruffled to see Neji holding a bouquet of roses in the middle of the training field, with a baffled look on his face—who are those from?she wonders, but is interrupted by a strangled, "These are for you."
Hyuuga Neji is not daft; those irritating Rookie 9 kunoichi have been whispering amongst themselves for the better part of a month now something about Tenten's new romantic interest—or distraction, rather—and he will find out who this undeserving soul is and he will endthem.
He tries to be stealthy about his inquiries, but every kunoichi he speaks with gets this unexpectedly wicked gleam in their eyes, and he knows that before long, Tenten will hear of his sleuthing.
He asks her to join him for a formal dinner he is having at the compound, and her cheeks go bright pink, pleasing to look at against the perfect white of the snow in her hair.
Neji approaches her with what he believes is undeniable proof that she is romantically interested in Shikamaru, and he tells her so, but is met with an exasperated sigh and a pinching of the bridge of her nose that clearly means what on earth?
When she doesn't answer her door for the umpteenth time, Neji tries the knob, which, to his alarm, turns easily; he hears a strange click as he swings the door open, and a moment later, he dangles by an ankle from her ceiling—rapid footsteps approach the scene and giddily she announces, "It worked!"
Neji thinks their new exercise is utterly ridiculous—and it's clear that Tenten will not last five laps around the village this way—but Neji is induced to participate on threat of death from his non-threatening sensei; he hoists Tenten, who is reduced to cursing and grousing, up by the ankles while she paws forward uselessly on her hands.
Lee thinks it is strange that Tenten does not remark on how Neji's eyes are glued to her backside, and not the road, during their wheelbarrow exercise.
In the summer, she trains in only cropped tops and shorts; Neji suddenly loves summer.
Tenten remembers the teammate relationship taboo from Academy kunoichi class, but as she casts a sidelong glance at the marble-eyed prodigy, she can't help but think that it's one thing to remember it, and entirely something else to abide by it.
Lee knows kunoichi are particularly self-conscious about their appearance, so he rather helpfully and loudly informs Tenten of the unattractive bruising around her neck; Tenten raises a hand to cover it with a look of horror on her rapidly reddening face, eyes flicking to meet Neji's—it's just the reaction Lee expected, so he gives her a conspiratorial wink and mock-whispers that he's sure his eternal rival has not noticed it at all!
She worries when she's been separated from her boys; after all, who will put Lee in his place when he goes overboard, and who will stand vigil over Neji's blind spot?—but she forgets that they worry, too; who will protect her when steel is no longer enough?
She will never forget the feeling of drowning; she will never forget the way his touch reminded her to breathe again.
The female barkeep pays Neji way too much attention, so when she's inebriated enough—and in full view of everyone else in the bar—she throws her arms around him and plants a big, fat, wet one on his face.
When it is winter, she sits like he does, sips tea like his does, and simply basks in his company.
Hinata freezes in her tracks, eyes going wide at the strangled moaning and cries she hears coming from the branch house, and immediately activates her Byakugan—she later approaches Tenten and, with a large measure of difficulty, asks her in the smallest voice if she could please keep it down next time?
A/N: Since it's been such a long time since I wrote for the Naruto universe, I figured the 1sentence challenge from LJ (Theme Set Delta) would be a fun way to ease myself back into it. Apologies if any of the structures were grammatically irritating to look at or read. Comments are welcome, and critique is encouraged. Thank you for reading. Have a fresh day.