By: I Can Hear the Sea

Summary: AU. An early morning in a life shared by two. (One-shot)

Author's Note: I have no idea what I was trying to achieve with this, but I liked how it turned out. Sorry if it's a bit rough. Hope you guys like it!

Disclaimer: I obviously do not own any part of the Naruto franchise or the American television show Bones, and make no money off of either them or any of this.

"People say you only live once, but people are as wrong about that as they are about everything. In the darkest moments before dawn, a woman returns to her bed. What life is she leading? Is it the same life the woman was leading an hour ago? A day ago? A year ago? Who is this man? Do they lead separate lives or is it a single life shared?"

-Dr. Jack Hodgins, Bones, "The End in the Beginning" (2009)

In the early recesses of dawn, a man awakens.

Little traces of first light trickle through the closed shades of the windows as a sleepy occupant of the bedroom begins to stir. With a soft groan, a masculine arm finds its way out of the bed covers to shield his sleepy opaque eyes from the invading light. The cool morning air presses against this man's uncovered forearm as he rests it on his head.

He is greeted with the blurry sight of the textured white ceiling as he finally lifts his arm from his face; a few more blinks and he can see clearly. A slight turn of his head to his right reveals that it is currently almost a fifteen minutes past six, giving him about an hour to do whatever he needs to get done. Slowly, he turns off the alarm that has been programmed to set ten minutes from this moment.

As he turns his gaze downward to his left, he smiles when soft strands tickle his chin and his neck. He presses a delicate kiss into the dark brown hair of the young woman who is still deep in slumber beside him. The man lifts his head to move his left arm, which he finds is trapped between the mattress and the young woman. She burrows closer to him when he tries to shift away, left hand moving across his chest to latch onto his shoulder. He sighs amusedly, feeling her warm breath fan against the collar of his T-shirt and tries again.

After five minutes or so of gentle tugging and clever maneuvering, his other arm is finally his again and his female companion is still sleeping, breathing softly against the pillow. He shifts on his left side, lavender eyes raking in the delicate features of his companion. The light seeping in through window shades casts an odd-striped pattern on her face, but he sees nothing but beauty in front of him. He reaches a hand up and gently tucks dark brown strands behind her ear, caressing her cheek as he does so. She sighs softly and nestles deeper against the pillow.

He is getting too settled in the bed again, the man realizes. The warmth and comfort that the duvet brings provide an even greater temptation to stay in bed. Reluctantly, he finally makes the decision to get up out of bed. Carefully, so as not to wake his beloved, he takes a cushy body pillow from behind her, puts it where he was once situated, and edges towards the side of the bed to swing his legs down.

- - - - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - -

As his feet hit the ground, Neji is relieved that there is a soft rug to cover the indubitably cold hardwood floor. That particular piece of furniture saves his well-rested appendages from cold shock. After a few seconds of sitting idly, he finally locates his slippers next to a stack of chemistry and biology-related books, none of which belong to him. He quickly goes to clean himself up, also taking a quick shower for good measure.

Upon returning to the bedroom, he finds that the young woman is now buried under the duvet covers, hugging the body pillow quite closer to herself. Neji hears her breathing softly now, thankfully still in deep slumber as he proceeds to take fresh clothes from the large duffle bag placed at the foot of the bed. He knows she is tired; it's been a week since she's returned to school from spring break, and her current senior course load does not offer much as much time for leisure as it did her freshman year of college.

Freshly dressed, Neji observes that she hasn't packed her bag yet. He walks over to her desk to check what her schedule is for the day and realizes that he won't see her again until nightfall. Sighing, he lifts her oversized purse off the floor, and set it on the chair. Meanwhile, he shuffles through the books and the papers on her desk to find the necessary items to put into her shoulder bag. Quietly, he lifts the bag over his shoulder and grabs his sweater off of the chair.

Her sleeping position remains unchanged as he exits the room, and he almost smiles as she lets out a little snore.

He drops his girlfriend's newly-packed purse on the couch in the living room on his way to the kitchen. When he arrives at his destination, he finds that he is not the only one awake in the house. One of his girlfriend's three housemates is also awake, preparing for the day by making coffee. They exchange polite greetings as he passes her on the way to the refrigerator; he notices that she is surprised, perhaps because he is awake so early in the morning when he doesn't have to be. He doesn't bother to answer her unasked question, instead taking out a small package from the freezer. Neji notes that the fridge is almost empty as well; he decides to pick up some groceries when she is in class.

"Do you guys have a medium-sized pot?" he asks the housemate, voice still husky from sleep. Her name is Ino, he knows, and also a close childhood friend of his girlfriend's. She is well enough acquainted with him to feel unperturbed in his presence.

"Bottom left drawer of the island," Ino replies, pouring herself a cup of coffee and says no more. She isn't much of a morning person and he isn't much of a talker.

He thanks her, and takes the pot out of the aforementioned drawer. Neji finds himself alone in the kitchen as he fills the pot with a small amount of water after Ino excuses herself, no doubt to put last-minute edits on her eight-page psychology paper before its due in an hour.

An idea suddenly comes to him, and he grabs a scrap piece of paper and a pen from the island counter and begins writing.

- - - - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - -

Sometimes, she forgets how fortunate she is in life.

This is not, however, the first thought that comes to her mind when Tenten wakes up. No, the first thought that comes to mind is actually a strategy for how she can fit in a couple more minutes of sleep without being late for class. She is about to fall asleep again until she feels a pair of soft lips brushing against hers.

She doesn't have to open her eyes to find that there is a silent laugh coming from behind those lips. Quickly, she decides to continue feigning sleep in hopes of getting another kiss and even lets out a soft sigh for good measure. Seconds pass before she can feel soft lips caressing her own again; she can feel the amusement building up behind those lips.

"I know you're awake, love." The lips curve up before pressing lightly against hers again.

"Good morning to you too," she speaks, her voice husky from sleep. She opens her eyes and sees her ridiculously gorgeous boyfriend looking amusedly at her. "It's too early in the morning to be up. Come cuddle with me," she insists.

"As much as I want to," he starts, leaning his forehead against hers, "I already let you sleep in for about half an hour. You need to get up or you'll be late to class."

Tenten involuntarily shivers when he says the last part in a whisper. "Late?" she asks as he pulls away, "Wait. What time is it?"

"A little past seven."

"What?" she exclaims, rocketing up out of bed. "Why didn't you wake me up sooner?"

Neji comes up behind her and pulls her in for a light hug as she looks for a fresh set of clothes. "Babe, relax. I packed your things and made breakfast. Just go get cleaned up and I'll get you up to campus in time for class, that sound good?"

She pauses. "Really."

"Yes, really. Now go," he answers before turning to leave the room.

Tenten lets a small smile grace her features upon entering the cold bathroom. She loves being in a stable relationship with such a sweet and loving boyfriend. It's still hard for her to imagine that just a little over two years ago, their relationship seemed irreparable.

They'd been close friends before they started dating. She'd been friends with him for four years prior to their relationship, two of them as close friends and started dating the summer before they were set to go off to university, her to Tenchi University and him to Kaibyaku University. Both were roughly two-and-a-half hours from Konoha, but six hours from each other. Their relationship had seemingly got on as well as it could have, what with their long distance and time for adjustments to college life.

So when Sakura, who attended the same university as he, had informed her later in the year that she'd spotted Neji being unfaithful to her on numerous occasions all over campus, Tenten admitted that she wasn't as surprised as she could have been. But damn it, it had hurt nonetheless. It had hurt like hell.

At any rate, they split in the spring of their freshman year of college and Tenten had refused to talk to him for many months― until they reconciled during the winter holidays of their sophomore year.

Examining her make-up one last time, she is satisfied and leaves the bathroom. Perhaps their past relationship problem was a blessing in disguise. A year-and-a-half later, their relationship is stronger than it has ever been and Neji visits whenever he can. He is able to stay over this entire week since he's on spring break; two weeks after hers.

The kitchen is warm compared to the rest of the house and upon entering, she smells steamed dried-shrimp rice noodle rolls and a hint of oyster sauce. She feels slightly giddy at this; she knows Neji remembers that she prefers Eastern-style breakfasts over Western-style ones. She sits down at the island counter just a Neji puts a small plate of noodle rolls and a small cup of hot milk tea in front of her. He has the same as he sits down next to her and they eat in comfortable silence.

"Hey, Tenten―" Ino stops to steal a small piece of leftover noodle roll from the steam pot on the stove and smiles innocently, "I'm heading up to campus to turn in my psych paper. Do you need a ride up?"

Tenten nods and shoves the last piece of breakfast into her mouth before getting up to put on her shoes; Neji rises to take her plate and deposits it in the sink. Wordlessly, she takes her bag from him as she finishes putting on her sandals.

"Call me when you get out so I can come pick you up. I don't want you taking the bus home," he says quietly.

"I probably won't be out until seven; eight at the latest, so I'll call you then," she replies, tip-toeing up to him to press a tender kiss to his lips. Tenten is quick to comply when he deepens it until she remembers that Ino is waiting for her in the car. "Kay. Gotta go, babe. I love you, bye!"

Tenten hears him return the sentiment before he quietly shuts the door.

- - - - - - - - - - x - - - - - - - - - -

A young woman sprints into her human physiology class, entering the class with three minutes to spare. Luckily, it is a large lecture hall, so she isn't the only one coming in the classroom right before class starts. She spots a few of her friends in the class and walks over to them on the right side of a middle row, pulling down a cushioned seat.

She barely has time to catch her breath when the professor walks in.

Grabbing her bag off the floor, she digs around for her notebook when her hand brushes against a small container. The young woman pulls it and her notebook out of her bag and set them on her small desk. She is delighted to find that there are three mini-sesame dumplings―her favorite― in the container and a note attached. She looks up and finds that the professor has not yet set-up her laptop and thus, giving her time to read the piece of paper stuck to the lid. Unfolding it, she begins reading.

To my dearest love Tenten,

I'll see you tonight and we can go out for dinner later if you're not too tired after your classes. Don't worry about anything else; I'll take care of everything so you can relax, alright? Just pay attention in class, have a great day, and always remember that I love you.

Your devastatingly handsome boyfriend,


P.S. Your schedule shows that you have no classes tomorrow. What was that about you wanting a "super sexy date" again?