A/N: Accckkk we are almost done! We are already on the last 2 items and that will conclude this mini series of mine! However, we still have one more chapter because I need a "conclusion" chapter so we won't part ways yet! (yay! Or not ahahaha)
I know this fanfic went off schedule due to university woes and I already put this off for more than half a year now _ My other reason was because I had writers block so I took a hiatus from fanfiction altogether. It just so happened that I am finishing this chapter during my unfortunate summer school session ORZ (DON'T TAKE MATH AND ECON AT THE SAME TIME!) Anyways other than that, I want to give a thanks to those who have read this series from the very first chapter and to those who have recently joined our little adventure. And now with our final items 9-10!
Disclaimer: Naruto belongs to Kishimoto Masashi
Chapter 6 - Item #9-10: Tsumami-Kanzashi & Handkerchief
As time has come and past, many unforgettable memories have been made amongst the Konoha gang. It was this particular day that the gang, along with the sand siblings, decided to have a group dinner for their Jounin reunion at the Yakiniku restaurant.
"It has been what? Almost five to six years since we've been working together as a group?" Kiba stated as everyone clinked their drinks and cheered. "It's almost unbelievable that we are able to stay together like this from the academy years till now."
"Are you feeling sentimental, Kiba?" Naruto teased as Kiba returned with an elbow shove. "Hey, I was kidding okay? But yeah, I can't believe throughout these years we were able to create memories with friends old and new."
"Yosh and we are also celebrating how we have reached the youthful jounin milestone!" Lee announced as Tenten quickly removed the cup of sake from his hands. "Eventually most of us will become youthful senseis or youthful ANBU members!" Some of the group laughed while others sighed.
"Now you're making becoming an ANBU undesirable now…" Chouji laughed as he grabbed some charsiu off the grill. "Especially if we become the first 'youthful' ANBU team…" Everyone now rolled their eyes before Naruto quickly changed the subject.
"Now now, hmmm who's going to become ANBU first amongst our group?" Naruto announced as he gave a quick glance at the whole group, "Besides myself, Team Gai would most likely become ANBU first as a team! I also hate to admit but even lazy-ass Shikamaru would become ANBU since he was the first amongst us to become chunin!"
"Shikamaru is too lazy to become ANBU! I mean, he was the last person to be jounin because 'it was too troublesome to take the jounin examinations…' yeah right…" Ino rolled her eyes, then she noticed a chest that was between where Neji and Tenten were sitting. "Hey what is that chest doing here?" Tenten raised an eyebrow and followed Ino's gaze towards the chest.
"Yeah, what is that chest doing here?" Lee, Kiba and Naruto exclaimed in sync as Tenten chuckled.
"Well we had a 5-day challenge where we would pick an item out of this chest and recall the memories behind it." Tenten explained as she brought out items such as the shiny kunai, the pocket watch and the stack of photos. "We have 2 more items to go before our challenge is over."
"Awww you guys are too cute," Ino cooed as she examined the items, "Who knew that the most 'plantonic partner' would keep a collection of personal items to celebrate their time together." Sakura and Hinata giggled as Tenten tried to suppress the incoming blush.
"Whose turn is it then?" Sakura asked as Tenten pointed at Neji. Neji reached into the chest and caught hold of something soft. He withdrew his hand revealing a gently folded cloth. Upon unfolding it, the cloth turned out to be a handkerchief embroidered with the four gentlemen flowers.
"Ehhhh?! Is that what I think it is?" Ino and Sakura exclaimed as they pointed at the handkerchief, "you actually managed to finish it on time?" Neji raised an eyebrow.
"Is there something I should know?" Neji inquired before a slight smirk graced his face. Tenten on the other hand tried to shush the two loud girls.
"N-n-nothing!" Tenten stammered as she tried her best not to let the blush overtake her face, Ino and Sakura gave a wary look at their older friend.
"What do you mean nothing? You were totally giving up on that thing," Ino exclaimed.
"In fact you were just as determined as ever to finish it since you were worried about your 'tomboyishness' for god sake…" Sakura laughed as Tenten's face turned three shades of red as they recount the story.
"Arggghhh why am I not girly enough," Tenten sighed as she played with her iced coffee at the café along with the other kunoichi, "even though I've worn 'girly' colours I don't feel feminine enough."
"Hmmm? Why are you so concerned? You're more than feminine enough!" Sakura exclaimed as Hinata nodded in agreement.
"Although you do make a manly woman with all your skilled weaponry," Ino pointed out, "Not to mention that you always wear pants or 'feminine slacks' like you've always called them."
"You rarely wear your hair down," Sakura noted as while sipping her tea, "and you hardly wear makeup"
"Your house is only filled with scrolls and weapons…" Ino remarked.
"I GET IT! NOW STOP MAKING FUN OF ME!" Tenten yelled causing everyone in the café to stare at her. "Whoops my bad."
"I-I-I don't think there's a problem with you tomboyishness at all…" Hinata reassured Tenten, "that's what makes you Tenten." Tenten gave a weak smile before heaving another sigh.
"I just feel that Neji still see me as a teammate and nothing more…" Tenten muttered but loud enough for the other three kunoichi to catch on.
"Ohhhh it's about lover boy eh?" Ino nudged her elbow at Tenten, "come on, you don't need to do anything since you guys have been dating for what, 4 years now?" Tenten shot an annoyed look.
"Hmmm, what feminine hobbies do you have?" Sakura asked, "Can you do handicrafts like sewing?" Tenten shook her head as she sipped her iced coffee.
"I've carved a bird for Neji before but that was when we were in academy days…" Tenten trailed off as the other girls awed in unison, "What? That's because you know what happened…" The other girls quickly realized but still stared at their older kunoichi friend with respect.
"Hmmm… I think you should learn how to sew," Sakura declared as Ino nodded in agreement, "Since you're great at handling sharp weapons, this should be a piece of cake!" Hinata looked worryingly at Sakura.
"itai…" Tenten sighed as she wrapped the final bandage around her fingers before putting her first aid kit away, "who knew sewing was that hard…" She stretched her fingers out only to find them numb with soreness. Note to self: never SEW before sparring…
"What's with your hands?" A voice behind her made Tenten jump. She turned around and found Neji standing behind her frowning. "How can you hurt yourself so easily when you're a weapon expert?"
"Ehhh I burnt myself when I was cooking…" Tenten grinned sheepishly as she reached into her weapon holster only to feel her hand tense up again. Neji sighed as he began walking towards their usual training spot. Yep… this is going to be painful…
The day after the training…
"Tenten, why don't you take a break? You've been at it for 3 hours now…" Ino sighed as she closed the sewing basket lid. "You're not getting anywhere if you don't have something to sew about!"
"A ninja does not give up on what they've started!" Tenten begrudgingly muttered as she continued to struggle sewing on her practice cloth. "Why didn't I pay attention during those home economic classes?" Hinata giggled as she put down her personal sewing project.
"Tenten, do you want me to help you?" Hinata asked gently as Tenten shook her head.
"I will make this on my own!" Tenten declared as she accidentally ripped the thread from the cloth. "Whoops…" Hinata giggled as she handed Tenten another cloth. As Tenten discarded the ruined cloth her eyes moved towards Ino's flower box.
"Something caught your eye?" Sakura asked as she entered Ino's room with cookies.
"Actually… yes…" Tenten replied as she continued to take note of the flowers.
A few days later…
"Are your hands okay?" Neji asked as Tenten placed the tea tray on the counter. "You've been wearing those bandages for a few days now…" Tenten sheepishly grinned as she poured tea for Neji.
"They should be fine! Stop worrying about it!" Tenten exclaimed as she started drinking her cup. Neji sighed as he placed his hand over her bandaged ones. "Oh! I almost forgot! Happy Fourth Anniversary!" Tenten withdrew a small package and handed it to Neji.
"I thought we're done with gift giving," Neji chuckled as he unwrapped the package. Inside the package was a handkerchief embroidered with the four gentlemen: chrysanthemum, cherry blossom, orchid and the bamboo. "What is this? You sewed this?" Tenten nodded while trying to suppress a blush.
"Eheh I got some help for Sakura, Hinata and Ino," Tenten scratched her head in embarrassment.
"Why would you do something like sewing?" Neji asked as he folded the handkerchief carefully. Tenten began muttering incoherently about how she felt she's not girly enough and something about being a tomboy. Neji chuckled as he walked around the table and placed a kiss on her forehead while hugging her.
"You're fine just the way you are," Neji whispered as she gave him a side-glance glare. "I mean you now have a more womanly air in you." Tenten rolled her eyes and punched Neji's arm playfully while she hid her growing blush.
"Psh, whatever, hey why don't we go stargazing outside?" Tenten suggested as she returned a peck on Neji's cheek. They slowly untangled themselves as they left her apartment to enjoy the clear night.
"Awww that was so cute when Tenten suddenly wanted to do something soooo girly," Ino snickered as Tenten tried to shoo her away.
"I wished I had a girlfriend who would do something for me…" Kiba sighed as Sasuke nodded in agreement.
"Consider yourself lucky, Neji." Shikamaru muttered before giving Neji a silent look which the latter pretended not to notice.
"I hope Tenten didn't notice the box yet," Neji muttered ever so quietly to himself. Hinata, however, heard him and shot him a look. "I think it's your turn Tenten!" Tenten nodded as she pulled out a velvet bag from the chest. As she opened the bag, she pulled out a beautifully handcrafted morning glory kanzashi hairpin. The other girls dropped their jaw at the beautiful kanzashi.
"OH MY GOODNESS THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL!" Ino and Sakura squealed as they gently held the kanzashi and examined it. "This is a real work of art!"
"It matched that yukata you wore last summer," Hinata pointed out and smiled, "You looked gorgeous during the festival." Tenten tried to hide her face from another round of embarrassment.
"Yosh! You were to most youthful flower that blossomed beautifully on that glorious, youthful evening!" Lee rambled, "You were the star of the evening!"
"Tenten was indeed really beautiful," Kiba agreed, "In fact if she wasn't taken by Neji I would have asked her out." Said Hyuga glared daggers at poor Kiba as the latter quickly apologized.
"Was it only last year?" Tenten wondered as she admired the kanzashi, "Wow time has gone by so fast…"
"What am I supposed to do?" Neji sighed as ran his hand through his meticulously groomed hair while Hinata raised an eyebrow.
"Something wrong nii-san?" Hinata asked as Neji sighed once more. "Did you and Tenten-chan get into a fight?" Neji shook his head as he glanced at the pocket watch Tenten gave to him a few years ago.
"I don't know how to repay Tenten for the pocket watch she gifted me during the chuunin party." Neji stated as he traced his fingers around the delicately handcrafted cover. "She's been really good at getting gifts." Hinata suppressed a light chuckle before an idea struck her mind.
"I think I know just the thing," Hinata smiled as Neji gave her a curious look. "There's a summer matsuri coming up in a few days. Hopefully that should give you some ideas." Neji raised an eyebrow still looking lost. Hinata sighed as she rummaged through a drawer and handed him a medium-sized catalog. Neji flipped through the catalog and was amazed at what was inside.
"You think this is going to work?" Neji asked as Hinata nodded while pointing at a particular page with a sticky note before leaving the room. Curious, Neji flipped to the said page and examined it.
The next day…
"Hey you know what's interesting?" Ino said as Sakura and Hinata rested at a bench in the mall, "This year's summer matsuri coincides with Tenten's birthday!" Sakura and Hinata blinked at Ino.
"Ino, Tenten's birthday is definitely not in the summer time…" Sakura pointed out. "I'm pretty sure March is NOT a summer month…" Ino rolled her eyes as she brought out a small yukata catalog.
"Tenten postponed her birthday this year remember?" Ino hissed as she flipped through the catalog, "And she's been doing that for the past 3 years now! We need to get her something spectacular!" Sakura nodded as she and Hinata joined Ino in looking through the catalog. Something caught Hinata's eye as she quickly grabbed the catalog and stopped at a particular page.
"Something interesting, Hinata?" Sakura asked as Hinata nodded and pointed at the yukata. "Oh gosh that's beautiful!"
"I suggested to Neji to get something special to match the yukata," Hinata sheepishly grinned as Sakura and Ino stared at their friend. "What? I want Tenten to be happy especially since she almost forgot about her birthday." The latter two girls agreed as the three of them began counting their pocket money.
It's matsuri time! Let's enjoy the summer night festival!
Tenten was about to put her scrolls away when she heard her doorbell rang. Wondering who would be visiting her at noon, she answered the door only to find her three kunoichi friends grinning.
"Happy Belated Birthday Tenten!" The three girls exclaimed as they quickly let themselves in. Tenten raised an eyebrow at her friends as well as the mysterious bags they were carrying.
"I'm pretty sure my birthday is in March and I haven't celebrated it for a while…" Tenten began before a box hit her face. "OW! What was that for?"
"Open it!" Ino called as she and Sakura dragged Tenten into her bedroom. "You're going to be wearing that tonight!" Tenten raised an eyebrow as she opened the box and gasped loudly. Inside the box was an elegant-looking blue yukata decorated with morning glories and hydrangeas.
"What… how can I accept this?!" Tenten stammered as Hinata gently sat Tenten down in a chair. "This must have been very expensive…"
"Of course it was!" Ino snapped as she began to apply make-up on Tenten's face while Sakura started working on her hair. "No you're going to the summer matsuri tonight and someone's picking you up!"
"Wh-h-hat?!" Tenten sputtered before Hinata laid a gentle hand on her shoulder. "What did you do?!"
"Just relax… your date's picking you up in a few minutes if we don't hurry!" Sakura fretted as the three kunoichi quickly prepared Tenten for the festival.
A few minutes later…
Neji gulped as he straightened his dark-colored yukata. He was debating whether or not he should knock. His nerves gave in, leading his hands to automatically press the doorbell. He was met with silence until he heard loud footsteps and voices. After a few minutes, the door opened revealing not Tenten but Hinata.
"H-hinata-sama?!" Neji sputtered as the latter chuckled. She widened the door to reveal the owner of the house. Neji couldn't believe his eyes as he stared at his sparring partner now girlfriend. Tenten was dressed in the elegant blue yukata while her hair was pulled up into a single sophisticated updo while leaving some of her natural wavy hair down.
"H-hey…" Tenten shyly tried to hide herself while stepping out of the door. "You're looking classy." Neji quickly overcame the shock and smiled.
"You're the one talking," Neji said as he pecked her on the cheek, "I got you a gift." Tenten sighed as Neji handed her a velvet bag.
"Last time I heard, you didn't like gift-giving," Tenten teased as she pulled the item out. She was holding a well-crafted kanzashi hairpin decorated with delicate morning glories and hydrangea flowers. "Oh my goodness, this is gorgeous!" Neji chucked as he removed the kanzashi from her hand and gently placed it in her hair.
"And it just so happened that it matches your yukata," Neji whispered in her ear as he gently held her hand. "Ready for the matsuri festival?" Tenten nodded shyly as the couple left her front door and headed towards the bustling activity.
A/N: And that's it for all 10 items! This is not the last chapter because the next one is our conclusion chapter along with a (not so) bonus. :)
I apologize again for not updating this for almost a year and a half but I haven't given up fanfic writing yet! I was thinking of writing more NejiTen fanfics but I currently don't have any new ideas to base it on.
One huge favour: Please let me know what you think about this fanfic or if you want to suggest ideas/themes for a future fanfic by reviewing or messaging me! (it would be awesome to hear what your thoughts are rather than just assuming you had a glance at this fanfic)
I hope you have enjoyed this chapter! See you next week! :D
Tsumami-Kanzashi: hand-crafted traditional Japanese hair ornaments