SOOOO to celebrate 100 reviews for Illogical, I have a story :)
It's fluffy and NON AU which is a first for me.
Prompt idea by SaturnXK: and I hope you like it :)
I don't own Naruto.
He knew from the start she wouldn't be like the other girls.
Hair a plain brown, smile wide and hiding nothing, shaking his arm with no respect whatsoever ("Hi! I'm Tenten! Nice to meet you!"), she definitely wasn't a common gem. With time she proved him right, as he always was, and grew to be strong, dependable, and modest.
Things were normal for a while.
And then the definition of "normal" changed.
Neji didn't know when it began, but suddenly, every time he saw a weapon he would think of her—see the flash of her smile in the glint of the metal reflecting the sun.
Whenever someone was using a kunai, he would imagine how she would throw it with so much accuracy that she seemed to pierce his heart with every bull's-eye.
Each time he helped pick up her sickles and other weapons after practice, he thought about how her hands had been on them moments before, the heat of her palms translated onto the metals.
And when she was sitting down, polishing her stash of numerous weapons in the sunlight, it was like the world was bathed in the brightest of white. The steel glittered in the daytime in her hands.
Something was seriously wrong with him.
Neji respected her, that much was true. She had proven through hard work, time and time again, that she was not to be trifled with. The projectiles were more deadly when in her hands than when wielded by any other.
But the feeling he had wasn't respect.
Neji obviously depended on her constantly during missions. If something couldn't be left to the bumbling Lee, it was better if Tenten had his back. She protected that blind spot with her life ("If that's your one weakness, I will eliminate it," she had said when he finally trusted her enough to tell her).
But the feeling he had wasn't dependence.
Neji definitely cared for her, as he did all his friends. She had stuck with him when he was an arrogant genin, and been with him as he slowly matured through Naruto's guidance. Sometimes, he felt like she was the only rational one he could carry a conversation with.
But the feeling he had wasn't care. It was something deeper, something more along the lines of wanting her to look at him with that dazzling smile every moment of the day.
Like he said: something was seriously wrong with him.
"Neji. What are you looking at?"
The very cause of all his mental turmoil sat on the grass, cleaning her weapons and staring at him, concern in her eyes.
Neji blinked, unaware at what he was staring at. His line of sight focused with a bit on concentration, and the object came into view.
It was the knife in her hand.
Glinting in the afternoon sun, deadly sharp, yet so exquisitely beautiful—it was an assassin's weapon. The blade could slit an emperor's throat in the middle of the night, pick locks on the palace doors, run through the guards like a spear.
But it was Tenten's. And that made all the difference. Under her hands, the blade protected. It avenged her village. Notched trees to prevent wayfarers from losing their ways.
And it was like her. Shining despite the rust, like a diamond in the rough. He hoped no one would discover her—selfishly, he wanted to keep her in the ground forever, so only he would know her true beauty.
It was sharp, like her wit. Scathing comments, roundabout answers that made even his head spin, a kind word placed just when it was needed.
And it was deadly, despite its fragile appearance. Not that she was fragile—but her stature certainly didn't suggest someone capable of firing thousands of projectiles with such impeccable accuracy.
"…You're just like that knife," he breathed, still lost in his own world, completely unaware he had spoken his thoughts out loud.
But then her voice brought him back to reality. "You calling me dull?" she hissed, obviously upset. She threw down the rag she had been polishing with, eyes blazing, and before he knew it, she had punched him in the face.
Completely stunned, Neji had no idea what he did wrong. He gently rotated his jaw, and then said calmly though he was panicking on the inside, "Why did you just do that?"
"You compared me to this," she seethed, twirling the blade between her fingertips. He was half-afraid that she would throw it.
"And what's wrong with that?"
If possible, her eyes burned even brighter. "Calling me rusty now, too? Never knew you really felt that way, Hyuuga."
That hurt. Couldn't she see he wasn't trying to point out her faults?
"Tenten, that's not what I meant, I was trying to praise—"
With that simple expression, the fire was extinguished from her gaze and she sat down, looking at him with bright doe eyes. "I'd like to hear where you're going with this," she grinned, still playing with the knife.
Neji gulped. He wasn't really expecting it to come to this point. He tried to sort out the jumbled words that were running through his mind and attempted to string them into coherent sentences. He got as far as to open his mouth, still sore from her punch, but nothing came out.
He cleared his throat. "Not…imperfections," he managed to mutter.
Tenten lay back against the tree trunk, clearly enjoying him in his vulnerable state. Why didn't she notice it was because of her? "Go on, Neji," she encouraged, smile wide.
That was a good start.
"…And very capable of doing what's expected of you. You exceed even me in terms of weapon knowledge."
And then the river of all the things he wanted to say but never had a chance to rushed out and he couldn't stop it.
He told of how he didn't want her hidden beauty to be discovered by anyone.
He told her that sometimes, her words were the only ones that kept him going.
He told her of how she was one of the few kunoichi that he respected.
He told her of how he saw her in every weapon—like they were all pieces of her soul.
He told her he desired to see her of every minute of the day, rain or shine.
He told her that he was sometimes slightly envious of her technical prowess.
He told her that he admired her dedication and her dream.
He told her that he could always depend on her.
"And," Neji said, taking a breath, "I think I might love you."
He closed his mouth immediately after realizing his mistake. That last one was not supposed to come out.
Now there was only silence.
She blinked her doe eyes, lips slightly parting into an "O" shape.
He didn't know if that was a good sign or not.
And then his thoughts were confirmed as she tackled him to the ground, so unlike the punching motion he had been subject to moments before. She was laughing and smiling and grinning so widely he thought his heart would burst. And Neji couldn't help but hope that it was his doing.
With a rush of emotion, her lips were on his and he couldn't think of anything else.
Slowly, like she didn't want the moment to end, she broke away, suddenly shy, and he couldn't say a word (again), stunned at her audacity.
"…You're like a piece of red string," she whispered, locking eyes with him.
Neji barely dared to breathe.
"You've tangled me up with feelings I never thought you'd return. You've held me up at the brink of death when I thought everything else was lost. And…"
She leaned forward, smile the very embodiment of the sun above.
"You never fail to pull me closer to you."
And then she kissed him again, and his thoughts on "normal" were forever changed.
AWWWW SOOOO KUYOOOOT
LOL this is just for fun, hopefully it wasn't too sugary-sweet :)
If you liked this, please check out my other one shots!
R & R...I'd love to hear from you.