title: those little things
pairing: NejiTen.
summary: AU. NejiTen. In which Neji is bespelled by zebra sneakers, neon colors, pink glasses, and a twin set of brown-haired buns.
notes: THE FLUFFNESS. So, this story really doesn't have any point to it. I was just feeling the fluff, and I deicded I should try and be a little nice to Neji after an apple lavender love story (which you should all go read and review, yes?) and TADAAA, this was the result.
disclaimer: I do not own Naruto or Pride and Prejudice. HOWEVER, I do own a pair of zebra sneakers! Hehe. :)


It was, he concluded, the zebra sneakers.

Coupled with every other eccentric, odd thing about that girl who had oh-so-calmly waltzed into the Advanced Placement Physics class at Konoha University approximately six minutes late, as well as after two classes had already passed. Neji had expected the elite professor, Gai-sensei, to shout something along the lines of 'lateness and its wilting power on the flower of youth!' But, the green-clad man had simply smiled at his new, albeit, unconventional student.

"Ah, a new flower to blossom in our youthful garden of education," he said. But instead of shouting, the words were spoken gently, softly, most unlike Gai-sensei's usual exuberance. Still, they were enough to accent his weirdness.

Neji closed his eyes to hide their rolling. Honestly, he asked himself, how did this man become the renowned physics professor, known country-wide as an elite mathematician?

But, the girl just beamed back at Gai-sensei, before slipping into a seat in the second row. She crossed her legs, bouncing her foot up and down to some unheard rhythm. It was at that moment when Neji noticed the black-and-white-striped pattern, sewn over a scuffed, white sneaker.

Neji looked away, focusing on Gai-sensei's lecture, but his eyes were occasionally drawn back to the odd animal print shoe. The girl continued to bounce her foot up and down, up and down, even as she scribbled notes and equations their professor was rattling off (in between words like 'youth' and 'flame' and 'flower.' Eye roll.)

Who wears zebra sneakers, he asked himself, scathingly, looking away before glancing at the girl again.

It was then that he took in her entire appearance, which was rather eccentric on the whole. Her jeans were torn and splattered with neon green paint, her shirt was highlighter yellow, advertising some shop, perhaps. Her hair, which was pulled up in a twin set of buns, honestly – was richly colored brown. And set beneath wide, square, pink-rimmed glasses (that looked fake?) were matching brown eyes, which looked almost chocolate-like.

Neji stopped himself.

Chocolate-like, he scoffed. What are you thinking, Hyuuga? You're not a poet. You're a Mathematics and Business Major. Seriously

Here, he flinched. Hinata had been watching too much Grey's Anatomy while she made dinner, as he studied away. Neji shook his head, ridding himself of the thought, and re-focused on Gai-sensei's lecture, determined not to think about things like zebra sneakers and neon colors anymore.


And next class, expecting her to show up late – again – Neji was once again startled by the eccentric girl.

Because she was already there.

Before him.

In his seat.

"Ch," he muttered, stalking forward. Clearly this girl is lacking in mental capacity.

That day, with the same ridiculous pink glasses, but this time wearing a bright purple T-shirt, she didn't seem quite as exuberant. Silently, Neji sat down next to her and almost flinched when he spotted that same foot, bobbing up and down.

Still wearing the stupid zebra sneakers.

"Hi there," she said, brightly, bouncing her foot again. "I'm Tenten."

"Hn." He glanced at her, bright eyes expectant. "Neji."

She giggled, leaning forward on her palm to observe him better.

"What a weird name!"

Neji stared at her.

She blinked, innocent-like.

He scoffed.

"What?" she asked, sounding genuinely curious and affronted by his response.

Neji eyed her with his unique, lavender-pearl eyes. He scanned her figure slowly, so she knew he was looking at her. She frowned.

"You know, it's kind of rude to stare…"

"Look at your ensemble of an outfit, particularly your shoes, and then tell me that my name is weird with a perfectly straight, honest expression," he interrupted.

Tenten looked immensely amused by this statement. Neji frowned at her, looking away as the rest of the class filed in a minute before the lecture was due to begin. For a heartbeat, he thought he had silenced her, but then she stuck her foot high up in the air—near his face—and jiggled it.

"Aw, Neji, you don't like my zebra sneakers?" she giggled.

"You," he replied, impassively, "are insane."

She simply beamed at him in response, lowering her foot. Almost mockingly, she lifted a finger and tapped it against her lips, as if she were considering a deep, philosophical idea.

"Well, being insane is much more than being boring," she said, smoothly. Neji glanced at her, and she had one—brightbeautifulbrilliant—brown eye open, shooting him a pointed look. Neji glanced at his outfit, a plain white button-up and crisp gray jeans, before looking away.

"Hn."

She rolled her eyes.

"Oh, good response, Neji."

"ALL RIGHT, MY FLOWERS, LET US BEGIN OUR CLASS AND WATER YOUR BLOOMING FLOWERS OF EDUCATION!"

Neji sighed, and Tenten giggled, as their professor bounded into the classroom. He flicked on the projector and began discussing more equations and numbers, while his students listened carefully.

After a few minutes, Neji glanced at the girl out of the corner of his eye. She was scribbling messy messy notes while paying close attention to the lecture. Neji looked back to the board, only to be distracted by zebra print, bouncing through the air.


It's the sneakers, he told himself. That's why you can't stop thinking about her. The zebra sneakers, and the stupid glasses, and the bright shirts. Not because she has beautiful eyes, or a musical laugh, or is actually quite enchanting to have a conversation with. And it is especially not because of the way she says my name. Nope, it's the stupid zebra sneakers.


The class after that, Tenten waltzed in a minute after he had sat down. She easily slid into the seat next to his, this time without comment. Neji watched as she reached into her bag and withdrew a dog-eared copy of Pride and Prejudice.

"Austen?" he asked. She arched a brow at him.

"Just because I wear zebra sneakers—," (which she was, he noted) "—does not mean that I can't enjoy one of Literature's greatest romance novels of forever."

"Aa."

She rolled her eyes, cracked open the book, and began reading. Neji watched her again, her eyes zooming across the page.

"You look as if you chewed up that book and spit it back out," he commented. She eyed him, annoyed for his interruption.

"I like to read," she muttered, "so sue me."

"Why keep reading the same book repeatedly?" he asked.

"Why keep watching the same movie?" she countered. Before he could answer, she said: "Because I like it. It's a great story, well-written, and thought out – unlike most trash these days." She paused and shot a dirty look a girl in the back row, who was giggling about Twilight. "Pride and Prejudice is dependable, and, um, awesome."

Neji rolled his eyes, glancing sideways at the book in her hands.

"What made you decide to start reading it again?"

She stuck her tongue out at him, and then tapped the picture of a tall man on the cover.

"To be honest, it's because you kind of remind me of Mr. Darcy." She paused, and squinted at him. "Yeah, you're a lot like him."

Neji stared at her as Gai-sensei bounded in to begin his lesson for the day, and Neji was forced to turn his attention away from her. The hour and a half long lecture ticked by in a whirlwind of thoughts for the young Hyuuga, his attention waning. This girl was ridiculous and annoying and beautiful and fun—

Wait. What?

Neji shook his head and glanced at Tenten again. She was blatantly ignoring Gai-sensei's lecture, absorbed in her book, so much that she almost missed the dismissal.

"Tenten," he said, nudging her, "class is over."

"Huh?" she asked, glancing at him with a distracted look in her eyes. "Oh!" she grinned, sheepishly. "I had just gotten to the good part!"

Neji rolled his eyes again, but allowed himself to smile, oh-so-slightly, at this odd girl that had stumbled into his life. She was, after all, rather cute, in her eccentric way. As they walked out of the classroom together, Tenten began humming.

"Why do I remind you of Darcy?" he asked her, after a moment.

She blinked. "Well, you act like him—you know, all stoic and distant and disdainful. Plus, you were all prejudice against my awesome sneakers!" To accent her point, she kicked up her zebra-clad foot, and stomped it. "And, I kind of doubt that you'd ever look twice at a weird girl like me, or a prideful woman like Elizabeth Bennet. And, if you did, I highly doubt you'd actually admit it—,"

"In vain I have struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you."

Tenten had stopped dead in her tracks as soon as he started speaking. When he finished the famous quote by Mr. Darcy, when proposing to Elizabeth, her mouth dropped open. Neji smirked, glad that he'd finally been the one to startle her.

"I have looked twice at you," he said. "More than twice, in all honesty. How could I not? With your neon colors, pink glasses, and ridiculous hairstyle—"

"WHOA BUDDY, DO NOT INSULT THE HAIR—"

"—but mostly," he continued, as if she had never shrieked at him, "it's your sneakers. I mean, really, Tenten, they are zebra sneakers. How absurd—"

"I think you mean awesome—"

"And I do hope you have nicer shoes than that. After all, I would like to take you somewhere rather nice for our first date, and I seriously doubt that zebra sneakers will be considered proper attire."

Tenten gaped at him.

"DID YOU SERIOUSLY JUST ASK ME OUT BY INSULTING MY SHOES?" she shouted at him, flailing her arms above her head. "TRY AGAIN, JACKASS!"

Neji sighed, taking her hand in his own.

"Tenten," he began, softly. "I haven't been able to stop thinking about you and your bright colors and your zebra sneakers since you walked into class for the first time. I think you're beautiful and I would love to take you out to dinner. Would you please accept my invitation?"

She surveyed him for a moment.

"Yup, that was much better," she said, smiling lightly. "Sure, I'll give you chance, Mr. Darcy."


So, that Friday night, Neji drove to her dorm building. He leaned against the car door, waiting for her to come out, looking up at the shadowy clouds in the night sky.

"Ready?" came her voice, and he looked at her.

She stood before him, hair down, earrings in, and smiled. She wore a pretty blue shirt, a slashing black skirt swirled around her hips, and—

He grinned.

zebra flats.


So, to clear up any confusion, here's a few things...

-Neji and Tenten are in college.
-Neji lives at home with Hinata and co.
-Tenten lives on campus.

Blah, I really should update The Notebook, shouldn't I? Meh.