Dreams of Blue Sky (dreamsofbluesky) wrote in nejiten,
Dreams of Blue Sky
dreamsofbluesky
nejiten

Heya~

AU one shot written for wingsover, who requested 'fluff + puppies'.  Warning:  extremely silly and sugary.   May cause cavities.  

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Puppy Love
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Tenten stalked into the living room of the apartment she shared with her boyfriend, slamming the door noisily behind her.  She flicked her keys carelessly onto the clear glass of the settee by the sofa before wrenching off her sensible flats, accidentally dropping the mobile in her hand; she swore under her breath, bending to pick it up and her heavy handbag slid down from her shoulders to dangle uncomfortably from her elbow.   


“Bad day?”

 

She looked up, flustered, swiping away the sweaty bangs from her forehead.  Neji was in the hallway, a fluffy white towel wrapped around his waist.  Evidently he had just emerged from the shower; his hair was a heavy black against the glistening pale skin of his chest, the remaining moisture at his waist slowly seeping into the towel and allowing the material to cling wetly to his hipbones. 

 

Tenten forced a wry smile.  “Oh, hey.  You’re home early today.”

 

Neji shrugged.  “The meeting with Hiashi was cancelled.”

 

“Ah.” Tenten nodded absently and thrust her mobile roughly into her handbag before flinging it on top of the TV.  Neji frowned when she collapsed onto the sofa with a weary sigh, tiredly rubbing the back of her hand over her eyes. 

 

“What is it?” He settled himself by her side, pale gaze fixed intently on his girlfriend’s exhausted expression. 

 

“Mmmmm...nothing much.  Just snake man again.”

 

“Orocha....Orochimura?”

 

“Orochimaru.  Yes.  He keeps bringing his damn snakes in, always trying to get Kiba and I to check them when they’re obviously fine,” Tenten grumbled.  “For Gods sake!  Today he was complaining that they weren’t eating enough.  Said they only ate three mice in two weeks or something.  Kiba was busy with Aburame’s tarantulas so I had to deal with those creepy little bastards again.  I mean – why don’t people bring in cats or, or hamsters or fluffy cute little things anymore?  What’s with all the reptiles?  Does no-one keep warm blooded pets anymore?  What’s wrong with an average dog, for God’s sake?  Speaking of which, I didn’t even get time to check up on poor little Dumpling and his operation is tomorrow and – ”

 

She stopped rambling when a warm hand covered her own, stroking her calloused fingers for a quiet moment before tugging them from her forehead.  Tenten blinked at Neji, surprised to find an amused smirk faintly etched onto the clean lines of his face. 

 

“He’ll be fine.  Don’t worry yourself.”

 

“Easier said than done,” Tenten muttered irritably. 

 

A pause.  Neji’s hand tightened around hers.  “I know a way to make you relax,” he murmured, voice suddenly low and husky. 

 

Hazel eyes widened.  “.....Neji?”

 

The smirk grew more pronounced as he leaned down, leaning against her shoulder as he whispered softly into her ear.  “Tenten........did you know that-”

 

 

----------------------------------------------------------------------

 

 

It was thanks to Dumpling, a golden retriever, that Neji had met Tenten.  The twenty four year old had shown up one evening at the Inuzuka Clinic with a battered pup in his arms, demanding immediate treatment for the bleeding animal.  Tenten, the young vet working her shift that day, had been assigned to stitch up the various cuts that ran along the pup’s underbelly due to her expertise and precision with the needle. 

 

To her surprise, the strange man with the long, low ponytail and the mesmerizing white eyes had insisted on watching the procedures; he had been obstinate in his refusal to let the pup out of his sight despite Tenten’s attempt to explain that protocol did not allow normal customers from entering the surgery chambers.  Finally Kiba, the owner of the clinic, had to turn a blind eye in view of the pup’s rapidly deteriorating condition and reluctantly allowed the man to watch the procedure. 

 

“What are you doing to it?”

 

Tenten did not even bother looking up from her work; she squinted, the tip of her tongue sticking out in concentration as she carefully closed a deep cut.  “Stitching this boy up.  These cuts are pretty bad; you’re lucky you got him here in time, otherwise these might have become infected, and then it would cost you a fortune to pay for his medication.”

 

“He will be alright.” It wasn’t a question.  Tenten had the vague feeling that she was being ordered to make sure that this dog would be alright or she would suffer horribly. 

 

“Yes, he should be fine once the wounds close,” she replied coolly.  “But really......what happened to him?”

 

“I don’t know,” Neji told her seriously.  “I found him on the street.”

 

Tenten scowled.  “Like this?  It must be those damn kids again, always picking on innocent animals and really, you’d think that they’d spare such a cute little thing like this but no, they always are such brutes and...............” she rambled on, not noticing the way his pale gaze slipped from the pup to her face as she continued to work absorbedly. 

 

“Will he need to stay the night?”

 

“Hmm? No, no – once we give him the required shots and vaccinations he’ll be free to go.  Do you plan on keeping him?”

 

Neji nodded and Tenten paused in her work, glancing up at him between her bangs to smile sweetly at the man.  “That’s nice of you.”

 

“..................hn.”

 

The problem came, though, when Neji tried to take the puppy away.  The puppy, unused to kind treatment, had woken up from the anesthetic and promptly fallen in love with Tenten’s warm, gentle hands as she administered the required shots; it refused to leave her side even when his new owner awkwardly tried to lift it into a doggie bag that Tenten had produced, kicking and squirming in his hands and pawing desperately towards the kind, nice woman across the surgical table. 

“Oh.....damn, this always seems to happen – last time one of Nara’s stags tried to limp after me when I was leaving his place – nasty cuts down his hindleg, you know, what with the – ”

 

Neji coughed and looked pointedly at the doggie bag.  Tenten froze, blushed, and patted the puppy as it tried to lick her hand. 

 

“Erm.  Here puppy, puppy, why don’t you get into this nice, cosy little bag here and go home with this nice, sweet man?  .........Oh, you adorable little thing! Look, it’s wagging its tail! You little coochiecoochie baby, oh you –”

 

Another cough.  Tenten glanced up a little embarrassedly at the emotionless set of the man’s face and offered a wry smile.  “Sorry.  Why don’t you try petting it?  It might start liking you more that way.”

 

Neji extended a hand guardedly across the table while Tenten continued cheerfully.  “Did you know, petting a dog, cat – anything, really -  for a few minutes can reduce pressure on your heart by nearly 45 percent?  Isn’t that wonderful?  Make sure you find time to pet him everyday when you......”

 

Neji nodded and gave the puppy’s matted fur a few stiff strokes.

 

It didn’t work.

 

Tenten visibly deflated a little and pursed her lips.  “Perhaps, we should –”

 

“Obviously it would be best if you just came with me.”

 

“What?” Tenten jerked back, startled.  The puppy whined and pawed at the air after her.  Neji merely raised an eyebrow.

 

“It’s nearly eight.  He won’t leave your side; you haven’t had dinner yet, and neither have I,” he told her matter-of-factly.  “The best solution would be if you ate with me.”

 

“B-but –”

 

“Afterwards you’ll have to follow me back to my apartment so I can drop him off.  I’ll drive you home, of course.”

 

“I – well – ” Tenten stammered weakly, too surprised to be coherent.  “No restaurant will – I mean – dogs?  Animals are not allowed, we’ll be refused entry –”

 

“Not if I own the restaurant.”

 

“You own a restaurant?”

 

“A few.  You may take your pick.”

 

“...........I don’t even know your name!”

 

“Hyuuga Neji.”

 

“Oh.  Well.  I’m Tenten,” she replied hastily.  “But – ”

 

“Let’s go.”

 

And thus began Neji and Tenten’s first date. 

 

Dumpling continued to play a big part in their relationship even after Tenten moved into her boyfriend’s apartment; the couple took quiet pleasure in taking him on long walks through the nearby park at night, letting him scamper cheerfully through the deserted playground while they took their time trailing slowly after him, fingers entwined.  Tenten adored their puppy and considered him the thing that had brought her and Neji together; Neji often ruffled his fur affectionately when Tenten wasn’t looking and silently thanked him for having been the best excuse possible to ask Tenten out.

 

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 “—that petting something for a few minutes can reduce pressure on your heart by nearly 45 percent?”

 

Tenten blinked at her boyfriend.  “What?  Yes, I knew that, but why – I mean – there’s nothing to pet, Dumpling’s at the clinic remember?”

 

Neji merely looked at her, the corner of his mouth twisting up in a faint smirk.

 

“What?  Why are you smirking like that, Hyuuga Neji?  I mean, what can I pet?  The cushion?  Unless – wait – ” she narrowed her eyes.  “- you don’t mean that I should pet you, do you?

 

Neji’s smirk widened and suddenly he shifted on the sofa, adjusting his weight so that he was facing away from Tenten. 

 

“.......Neji!” Tenten slapped him lightly but the amusement was evident in her voice.  “If anyone should be getting a backrub here, it should be me!”

 

“We’ll take turns,” he offered generously.  Tenten rolled her eyes and sighed, leaning forwards to rest her chin on his shoulder.

 

“Alright, alright,” she muttered, hands creeping up the smooth, pale skin of his back and massaging him gently with her palms.  “But you better make mine good, Hyuuga.”

 

Neji twisted his head to glance back at her and suddenly Tenten had trouble breathing from the look in his eyes.  Gods, he was sexy -  

 

“Oh, it’ll be good,” he promised her huskily. 

 

Tenten didn’t doubt it. 

 

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Note: the 45% came from some article I read somewhere sometime ago.  Don't take my word for it, though petting a dog/cat etc IS scientifically proven to reduce stress.

 

 

 

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