Tenten loved working in the Disney store located in the central part of the mall. She loved seeing young kids coming in with their families, eyes shining bright with joy as they dug through the stuffed animals and all the merchandise. She enjoyed interacting with them and talking with them, as it usually made her day brighter, no matter how good or crappy it started out.
On this particular day, however, she woke up with a sore throat and found that she's lost her voice. Sighing noiselessly, she still opted to go in for work, seeing as how it was just a lost voice and nothing contagious. Before heading out, she picked up a pad of paper and a pencil as her way of communicating for the day.
It was an interesting day at work, to say the least. It was a bit of a pain, having to write down everything she needed to say, but she had thought ahead and had prepared a few sheets with some mandatory and obvious questions and answers that usually come up. The customers were patient and nice enough to wait for her to scribble out her responses.
One particularly interesting thing happened to her right after her lunch break, when this little girl tugged on her pants leg and asked why she couldn't speak. Thinking quickly, Tenten penned out, It's because Ursula took my voice.
The little girl's eyes widened in horror and unexpectedly grabbed her by the hand, leading her around the store, asking strangers if they would help kiss her and restore her voice. She would laugh at the men's perplexed expression and shake her head, smiling. They would then sink down to the girl's level and tell her that he wasn't her prince and couldn't be the one to help. The girl pouted, but thanked the men and continued to drag Tenten around until she got called away by her mother.
She turned to Tenten with an air of confidence and promised, "Don't worry! I'll help you find your prince! You'll get your voice back!"
Tenten smiled and nodded, waving as the little girl rushed off toward her mother. The customers around her who had witnessed the scene all murmured how cute that was and wasn't the girl just adorable.
"What's up with you?"
Tenten whirled around, coming face to face with the crown of someone's head. Glancing down, she smiled wryly as she stared into the eyes of Hanabi.
"Lost your voice huh."
She rolled her eyes and quickly scribbled out what would be a sarcastic response. No, I decided to be Ariel today. After she goes to see Ursula.
Apparently, it was the wrong thing to say to Hanabi because the girl ended up dragging Tenten across the store floor, declaring loudly that she knew just the prince to kiss her, much like the little girl before her. Something in her told her Hanabi had witnessed that moment. Mortified, Tenten tried to wrench her wrist away, but, dang does that girl have a grip.
She was brought to a stop in front of Neji—she wondered offhandedly as to why he was even here in the first place and resolved to ask him later—who merely arched an eyebrow. Tenten shrugged at his unasked question and held up the pad with her previously written sentence.
"You're her Prince Eric, Neji," Hanabi retorted smartly, "so you should kiss her."
Tenten let out a hoarse laugh and waggled her eyebrows suggestively at him. He strode over, his taller frame towering over her as he crooked his mouth into an amused smirk.
"I don't know. Should I?"
Don't you want to help me get my voice back?
"Aren't you working?"
"Are you goin' to kiss her?"
Both of them glanced over and it was the little girl from before, the one that had dragged Tenten asking for kisses from strangers.
Do you think he's my prince?
"Oh, he definitely is," Hanabi snickered loud enough for the little girl to hear.
She innocently asked, "Is he really her prince?"
Hanabi nodded solemnly. "Oh of course."
Her eyes brightened and she turned shining eyes on Neji, hands clasped together in front of her. His face remained amused, though that slight tick of his eyebrow and the faintest hint of his smirk falling indicated that he wasn't happy with Hanabi.
Well, get on with it.
Neji turned a light glare to Tenten for even thinking about going along with this entire situation. She merely smiled as innocently as she could manage.
"Kiss her," the little girl breathed in anticipation.
"Just kiss her already," Hanabi egged on impatiently. Many of the children that had gathered around them all shouted their agreement.
Seeing no way out of this, Neji reluctantly stepped up and leaned down, lightly brushing his lips against hers in a quick chaste kiss. Pulling away just as quickly as he had leaned in, he turned his head away to avoid looking at Tenten, the barest hint of a blush dusting his cheeks. She bit her lower lip in an effort to hold back the large smile threatening to erupt.
The little girl asked with utter hopefulness, "Did you get your voice back?"
Tenten was startled, having forgotten momentarily that they had a crowd. Staring blankly at the girl, she cleared her throat and even though knowing that it would strain her already sore throat, she mustered up enough sound to be able to declare, albeit gravelly, "Yes."
The little girl beamed excitedly and hugged Neji to his chagrin. The other kids around all cheered happily before being distracted by something or other inside the store. They all scampered away leaving only Tenten, Neji, and Hanabi standing there.
Turning around to face Neji, she held up her pad with a question that's been bugging her since she first laid eyes on him. What are you doing here anyways? You don't normally stop by the Disney store.
"Hanabi wanted to come," he answered simply.
Hanabi snorted incredulously from her spot by the rack of t-shirts. "Stop using me as an excuse every time you want to visit your girlfriend."
Tenten could only laugh at the disgruntled look Neji shot Hanabi.