a/n: Sorry! There's no excuse … but I present the final chapter and I hope you will enjoy it!

Warnings: Smexiness, for a final time xD … don't report me because it's not explicit.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto

Chapter 13: Freedom

There was freedom in being with Tenten. For the all too brief moments when he lost himself in her body, Neji could pretend; pretend that everything in his life was of his own doing – his own choice. In those moments nothing existed except for Tenten and the wonder he still felt whenever he looked at her. It was inexplicable; that this perfect person could want him. At first he hadn't really believed it. He hadn't wanted to get his hopes up when Tenten had declared herself and promised to stand up to her mother.

Even when she'd grabbed his hand, firmly wiping the last tears from her cheeks, and dragged him along in her wake, he hadn't really believed. It was only once they were standing in Amaya's living room that reality had begun to set in. He'd listened carefully, not interrupting and offering his support, as Tenten had told her mother in no uncertain terms that she refused to choose between them. As far as Tenten was concerned there was no choice to be made; she loved her mother and she loved Neji, and she saw no reason that she couldn't have both. If Amaya couldn't accept that then it was her own problem, but, either way, Tenten would never stop being her daughter.

The shock had run almost palpably through him when, after a long silence, Amaya had turned a resentful gaze on him; one that promised a lifetime of pain and suffering if he hurt her daughter. She capitulated to Tenten's demands. Granted, the woman had only promised to try, and to stop interfering, but it was far more than Neji had believed possible just an hour before.

He'd also never really appreciated his uncle before; that much Neji could see clearly now. When he'd stopped off at the compound to get a change of clothes after their confrontation with Amaya, Hiashi had visited his bedroom. While that occurrence alone was enough to give him pause, Neji had been completely wrong-footed when his uncle had surveyed his packing nephew and merely smiled slightly before wishing him well. Just before he'd departed, Hiashi had told Neji to remember that he always had a home at the compound, but that the clan wouldn't begrudge him his own life.

A week had passed since then. A week in which all the events that had transpired still hadn't really sunk in. At first they'd been too caught up in each other, and the freedom of not having to hide, but now Tenten had decided it was time for them to come out of their self-imposed exile. While overtures had been made, the problems hadn't really been bridged as yet and Tenten wanted to start building. For some inexplicable reason she thought that it would be a good idea to bring their families together. To begin to get to know each other while leaving the past behind them, she'd explained to a horrified Neji earlier that day. He'd bluntly stated that there was no way in hell that was happening, and he'd breathed a secret sigh of relief when Tenten had appeared to dismiss the matter from her mind.

He should have known better.

Now her tongue traced greedily along the quivering muscles of his torso and Neji threw one arm over his eyes, trying to force the groan to stay locked in his throat. Her fingers danced over his skin, igniting a slow burn all over his body, but every time he reached for her, she skilfully evaded his grasp. A trail of fiery kisses wound along his neck as her fingers traced lower and lower, before stopping just short of where he ached for her to touch. Her tongue slicked out, gliding silkily against the skin just behind his ear. She traced slow patterns over his hipbones and moaned softly into his ear.

"Please, Neji."

She breathed the words against his skin, sending shivers down his spine and, damnit, he knew he shouldn't be considering giving in – not when Tenten had descended to such despicable levels to get her way. But the lust coursing through his veins was too much to bear and, with a groan, Neji finally gave up.

"Fine. Just … fuck, Tenten!"

Her response was instantaneous; in motion almost before his agreement had really been uttered. She flowed sinuously down his body, her mouth trailing mind-numbing pleasure over his skin before she took him into her mouth in one swift movement that nearly made him choke. He gave himself over to her ministrations wholeheartedly. And when Tenten finally allowed his release Neji couldn't help but admit that maybe he should allow her to 'convince' him more often.

"Promise, Neji," Tenten spoke sternly as she laid the silverware on the table.

"Hn," Neji muttered resentfully and he handed her the linen napkins.

"I mean it, Hyuuga! You have to be nice tonight. No matter what anyone says or does we will stay calm and smile. The first time is bound to be the most difficult but it can only get better from there."

Neji watched sceptically as Tenten talked while she arranged the table settings to her liking. It was a bad idea, this dinner party of hers, and he'd told her so. But clearly it was one of those times where Tenten had to learn from her own mistakes the hard way. Neji had taken the path of least resistance and allowed her a free rein.

"I will be myself," he conceded when she turned to him with a glare at his lack of a response.

Tenten sighed as if that was the best that she could hope for, and ordered him to fetch the plates from the kitchen. Neji had to admit that Tenten was trying very hard. A three-course meal had been prepared to perfection, the apartment was sparkling clean and she even wore a seldom-seen yukata she'd dug from the back of her closet. Neji didn't have the heart to tell her that none of her efforts would impress his uncle nearly as much as her perfect accuracy.

Their guests were due any minute and Neji took a deep breath as he carried the plates through to the small dining table for Tenten. It wasn't that he didn't appreciate her trying; just that he thought it was too soon. Once Tenten made up her mind she clung tenaciously to whatever decision she'd come to so he'd let her be. She would see for herself soon enough. In the meantime he steeled himself for a thoroughly unpleasant evening.

The doorbell pealed and Neji forced his expression to neutrality as he went to answer the door. It was a strange collection of people waiting awkwardly in the hallway. Hiashi and Amaya very studiously ignored each other, ensuring that Hinata and Hanabi remained between them at all times. Hinata was crushing her fingers to her chest and wild relief showed on her expressive features when her cousin opened the door. Hanabi merely stared curiously from one person to another while Amaya smiled down at the little girl. Distantly Neji wondered if perhaps Hanabi would be the one to finally crack through Amaya's disapproval of the lot of them. She certainly appeared friendlier to his youngest cousin than he'd ever seen her before.

A flurry of greetings ensued as Neji waved the guests inside and Tenten joined them after a last minute check of everything in the kitchen. Soon everyone was installed in the small living room with a drink. The tension faded somewhat as the conversation picked up; turning inevitably to their trade. Amaya was being surprisingly polite, and even Hinata had stopped twisting her fingers anxiously. Tenten was shooting periodic looks of smug superiority at Neji, and he'd just begun to relax when Tenten announced that dinner was ready. It was awkward to be at the head of the table with his uncle across from him, and, finally, Neji identified the strangeness he'd been feeling all night. For the first time, they were treating him and Tenten like reasonable adults. His eyes narrowed as he stared down at his plate; he didn't trust it. The meal dragged leisurely along and everyone seemed to be on their best behavior. Finally, Neji allowed himself to believe that the evening would end exactly as Tenten had hoped it would. He should have known better.

"Have you given any thought to legalizing your arrangement?" Amaya asked delicately, thanking Hiashi with a cordial smile and a nod as he refilled her wineglass.

Tenten stared uncomprehendingly at her mother, fork half-way to her mouth. "Legalizing?"

"Well, you can hardly continue living in sin." Amaya shrugged as she took a small sip of her wine.

"Mother!" Tenten hissed, her face aflame as her fork clanked down onto her plate, and she grabbed for her napkin to hide behind.

Neji forced himself not to choke and carefully reached for his glass of water.

Hiashi coughed softly.

Hinata turned bright red while Hanabi showed no signs of understanding what was going on.

"What?" Amaya asked, looking around the table in amazement, "It's not a secret, is it? I would have thought that it was perfectly obvious exactly what the two of you are doing; it's what brought us to this point, after all."

"Mother …. I … we … that is … not now!" Tenten hissed from the corner of her mouth and quickly began offering dessert in a falsely bright tone.

For a moment, Neji could have sworn he saw a mischievous sparkle in Amaya's eye as she hid her smile in her napkin and allowed her daughter to take her plate. Tenten returned with the dessert and once everyone was settled again, Amaya opened her mouth.

"I trust, at least, that you've gone to the hospital for … er … treatment?" she asked softly, glancing at Hanabi to make sure the youngest girl was absorbed in eating her dessert and not paying attention to the conversation.

This time Neji was sure his face was just as red as Tenten's. Suspiciously he narrowed his eyes at his suddenly coughing uncle, because unless he was very much mistaken, the man had just laughed at him before turning the sound into a cough.

Tenten was staring at her mother with wild horror painted all over her features.

"What?" Amaya shrugged again, "If you can engage in an adult life – since you are all grown up as you continually remind me – then you can surely converse as a reasonable adult?"

"Of course, Mother," Tenten returned through gritted teeth, "this is just not the appropriate time or place. I think you've had enough wine."

Mercifully, Amaya dropped the matter and the rest of the meal was concluded in peaceful silence. Neji breathed a sigh of relief when the talk picked up again since the focus was on politics. As they withdrew to the living room for coffee he fell behind to help Tenten clear the table.

"You were right – this was a terrible idea," she hissed as she passed him the plates. But there was no time to really talk, or say I told you so, as Tenten prepared the coffee and handed him the tray.

The coffee was drunk and the requisite compliments on a good meal had been dispensed and accepted, when Hiashi finally began to bid them goodnight. Hanabi needed to get to bed, after all. Tenten and Amaya had disappeared into the kitchen so Tenten could send some leftover dessert home with her mother while the Hyuugas waited awkwardly in the small entryway, staring at each other.

"Are you living here now, Neji-nii?" Hanabi asked suddenly.

"His home is still the Hyuuga compound, Hanabi," Hiashi interceded delicately.

Neji shot his uncle a grateful look. He had no idea how he could have answered that question to Hanabi's satisfaction. She was an annoyingly perceptive and curious child at the best of times.

"Oh," Hanabi frowned as she considered her father's words.

Tenten and Amaya returned and the flurry of goodbyes seemed to distract the youngest Hyuuga. They were out the door and Neji had begun to expel a sigh of pure relief when Hanabi turned to her father.

"What does living in sin mean? Neji-nii doesn't look unhappy; I thought sinning made people unhappy."

Hiashi choked, and Hinata looked wildly around the small hallway, while Amaya laughed as she walked off with a wave. Neji stared at his uncle and saw his opportunity for revenge. Hiashi had enjoyed his discomfort at the dinner table far too much.

"Your father will explain everything once you're home, Hanabi-sama," he said with a smirk at his uncle, before nodding once more and closing the door.

The kitchen had been cleaned, and everything set to rights. Neji dragged a hand tiredly through his long hair and silently vowed to never let Tenten convince him to have a party of any kind ever again. He flopped onto the couch and rested his head against the cushions, listening carefully as Tenten approached and sat down next to him.

"That didn't go too badly," Tenten finally mumbled into the silence.

"Hn," Neji acknowledged because he didn't think now would be the best time to inform her that they were never doing anything like this again. He opened his eyes a fraction when he felt Tenten shift, his hands automatically settling on her hips as she swung her leg over him and straddled his lap.

"Thank you," she whispered before pressing a soft kiss against his lips.

They were tired and sex should have been the furthest thing from their minds, but, somehow, as always with them, the slightest touch led to more. His head whirled, and the world lurched, as Tenten slicked her tongue around his and ground her hips deliberately against him. His fingers clenched tightly into her hips and suddenly it was imperative to remove all the excessive clothing.

Neji lifted Tenten carefully, never breaking the kiss, and laid her down on the couch. Inch by inch, he uncovered her body, trailing wet kisses and light bites over her skin; thoroughly enjoying her cries and her encouragement. It was the only way he knew how to say thank you for everything she had done; the only way to show her how much she meant to him. Distantly, he reflected that they had come a full circle from that night in Suna. Still completely at each other's mercy but enjoying it together now, and he couldn't help but be thankful that Akatsuki had scared Tenten badly enough to seek him out.

She was finally, exquisitely, naked and Neji had no patience left. Moisture coated his fingers and Tenten's entire body was trembling, while her eyes pleaded … he slid home with a soft grunt. She cried out as her eyes closed. Neji pressed his forehead into the curve of her shoulder as he forced himself to move slowly and carefully. Because tonight he wanted to show her, with every movement, how incredible she was. Bright color splashed across the insides of his eyelids and the sound of their panted breaths, and skin meeting skin, overwhelmed his senses; spurred the pleasure ever higher.

It was a long time before Neji returned to earth. Tenten was combing softly through his hair, a contented smile on her lips, and, since she didn't seem to mind his weight crushing her into the cushions, Neji decided to stay exactly where he was.

Suddenly Tenten's body vibrated with laughter; the sound of tinkling bells breaking through the still air. He'd just begun to wonder if he would have to muster the energy to be offended, when she choked the giggles back and explained.

"Living in sin making people unhappy," Tenten's laughter mixed with the words, "oh, god, your uncle's face…"

Neji held her close, allowing her laughter to spill over and into him, too. And he had to concede, he'd never been happier; living in sin with Tenten.

a/n: I hope you enjoyed this silly little story ^^ Thanks for sticking with me and please let me know what you thought?