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29 October 2006 @ 08:04 pm
Ten for Ten [completed]  

 An 11th hour entry ^^ 

Real life has kept me very busy, but I would always find time to offer something to the celebration of yummy NejiTen-dom across the web.

It's Been Five Days [fanfic]

[read]

“How many days had those plates been there?”

“F-Five days.”

The look on Hyuuga Neji’s face had been almost comical if only Tenten hadn’t been taken by surprise by the former’s unexpected visit.

“And you hadn’t been on mission,” he asked, but she knew it was only meant to verify his assumption.

“A woman does not live on missions alone,” she said, quite defensively. “I was out training!”

“But eventually, you would have to return home.” He eyed her jadedly. “And still you didn’t wash them.”

“Neji, those plates aren’t like babies that needed to be washed everyday. They can wait—“

“Five days and they’re already an insect wonderland.”

“Shino would love that,” she said thoughtfully.

He didn’t look amused. Looking at the floor, he found his next grievance. “Are you aware of this equipment called ‘mop’? It has a handle, with some rags attached to it at the bottom.”

“Neji—“

“What the—“ He spotted the just-described cleaning utensil, neatly lined against the wall, transparent plastic still covering the head.

She smiled sheepishly. “I didn’t want it to get dirty.”

“Tenten, this isn’t some home décor, you know,” he sighed. “It’s meant to get dirty so it could clean the floor.”

She tried to sound reasonable. “But I would just be transferring the dirt of the floor to the mop! Why should it suffer the same filthy fate as the floor?”

He could have snorted, had his reputation allowed him to do so. “Detergents were created for that.”

“But if I walk on the floor again, it’ll just get dirty once more!”

“Then you go and mop again.”

“Waste of energy.”

“At least, the house will know what it’s like to be tidy.” He looked up at the ceiling, and then heaved a sigh once again.

“The cobwebs?” She looked up too. “I’m too busy to get rid of them. Besides, I don’t have the heart to drive away the tenants.”

“No one will get canonized for being the patron saint of house spiders, Tenten,” he remarked. “It’s easy to clear them. Just get a broom and sweep them away.”

“Look, just because all the women in your family were brought up as talented goddesses in the homemaking arts, it already means that the rest of the female population are like them!” She clenched her fists. “Women are entitled to Styrofoam food containers if they don’t have time to wash five day-old plates. Women have a right to not know how to cook noodles that isn’t labeled as ‘instant’. Women have the right to have cockroaches as housemates even if those insects aren’t paying rent. I mean, do you hear anyone complaining if you don’t do your dishes?”

“I’m privileged,” he said simply.

“Because you’re a guy?” she snorted.

“I’m a Hyuuga.”

Well, what could she retort on jousts regarding surnames and their attached privileges, especially that of the oldest, grandest clan of Konoha? She shook her head, groaning. “Nevertheless, you shouldn’t preach me about things you yourself don’t do!” A smirk plastered itself on her face as she crossed her arms smugly.

Neji eyed her wryly, and then got up to seize the broom, which was still covered with plastic also. He began to remove its wrapping.

Her eyes twinkled. Her last statement was definitely a win-win one. It was either Neji would back down and leave her alone because she was right, or he would prove her wrong by doing the household chores himself.

Perfect!

……………………………………

Ten minutes later, she was coughing as gray, silken particles of cobwebs fell down on her. Consoling herself, she looked at the rest of the ceiling. She was dusting off the last corner of her apartment.

Incredible. I didn’t know my walls were painted apple-green. She had always thought it was dirty white.

Her eyes went down to the figure who was washing the plates on the sink. Hyuuga Neji’s hands, the hands that brought down numerous powerful ninjas from various villages across the continents, were busy scrubbing her plates to a sparkling state of clean.

She pondered on the possible reactions from his kin once they learn that their prodigy was off somewhere in a tiny pad, washing plates for a teammate.

Her nose wrinkled. They would deem it an un-manly, un-genius-y, un-Hyuuga thing to do. Definitely.

He must have known that too, yet there he was still, washing her plates for her. For some reason, this made her grin.

“Done with that, Tenten?” asked the man suddenly. She nearly forgot that her teammate had spawned eyes—with perfect 20/20 vision at that—on the back of his head too.

“N-Not yet—“

“Then continue doing what you should instead of staring at me.”

She stuck a tongue out at him, and then turned her back at him as she vigorously swept the corners of the ceiling.

“After these, I will be teaching you how to cook a simple meal,” he said after awhile. “You may never know when it can save your life.”

“I’m kind of attached to instant noodles.”

“That’s one fine example of why you need some lifesaving.”

She rolled her eyes.

……………………………………..

A couple of hours later, they were seated on the table, resting. She had laid her head on the table, feeling her neck and arm muscles complaining of strain. Her stomach was also protesting, but the aroma of cooking rice and steamed vegetables assured her that they were going to eat in a little while.

She turned her gaze at her friend. Neji had leaned back on the chair, eyes closed. He may not show it, but she knew that he, too, was exhausted. It wasn’t a sparring session, but it could have been the tension of doing something he didn’t usually do. His body was still adjusting, the way hers was.

“Neji? Are you awake?”

“Hmm.”

“You know, for a guy belonging to a chauvinistic clan, you know more about housekeeping than I do,” she said, half-concealing her compliment.

“Even an average house ant knows more about it than you do.”

“And here I thought we were the best of friends.” She laughed heartily. “But really, Neji, I thought your clan don’t make men touch areas pertaining to household maintenance.”

“My father’s teaching, actually.”

She cocked her head. “Something about equality of duties and responsibilities between men and women?”

He shrugged.

“What is it then?” she asked curiously.

“It’s more of anticipating would-be wives who are domestically-challenged.”

……………

Fin



Sincerely Yours [fanart] [view]
White Out [banner] [view]
Listen [drabble]

[read]

“If we obey physics, the range of my stick should be somewhere around eight to nine feet only, but I’ve devised a way to make my fighting range reach twelve feet. See that? Three extra feet which can mean more room to work around with for someone who’s battling eight people at once inside a cramped bowling alley!” The excitement in Tenten’s tone was patent as Hyuuga Neji, who was seated beside her. He had been listening to her for the past half hour, an unreadable expression on his face written with such legibility that it was virtually impossible for anyone to miss it.

Well, admittedly, Tenten could be kind of impossible at times.

“What would these eight people be doing in a bowling alley that is cramped anyway?” he muttered.

“Playing badminton.”

“Of course.”

“Anyway, the stick does tend to break off easily, but I’ll be surveying the forest for sturdier wood sources.”

“Hmm.”

“I am tempted to use a three-part staff, but the idea of split-second loss of control doesn’t appeal to me. It’s a shame though, since it’s a versatile weapon, and it’s linked by chains. Tough stuff.”

“Hmm.”

She nodded. “I’m glad you agree. In fact, Neji, we really should set up a sparring session that will compare those two weapons.”

Finally, Neji reached the breaking limit of his not-so-very-long rope of patience. He faced her, irked. “Should we really do this tonight?” he asked, voice rising.

Her eyes widened, startled. “No, of course not, Neji. We can do the sparring session next week—“

“Not that,” he hissed. “This.”

“This?”

“This.” He combed his hair back, fighting for his temper. “Tenten, all of these things you are sharing to me… they’re amazing. But do we really have to talk about these on our first night as man and wife?” asked Neji in exasperation.

She paused, and then grinned. “Why not? I think it’s a good opportunity as any other given night.”

“Fine!” Neji turned his back on his newly-wed bride, sulking. After all those physical and mental preparations he made—all those man-to-man tips about rendering the “best performance of his sex life” in his recently-staged stag party, those scrubbing and mouth-washing and brushing, the ryos he spent on colognes extracted from all fragrant objects possible… hell, Tenten was intending to spend their honeymoon night conversing about weapons!

“… of course, the best weapon remains to be the human being itself…” Tenten was saying, not caring anymore if he was burying his head on the pillow like an ostrich, childishly using the fluffy pillows as sheath to protect his ears from her droning. Not that it was doing much good. Her words were still penetrating the physical blockade he erected.

Why ever did I marry a weapons expert? He couldn’t help but think, sighing in misery. He had his pick of women, in various lovely and exotic feathers and carriages. He was a Hyuuga after all, with the wealth, looks, and power that amplified the privileges he carried like a price tag around his neck.

And yet he picked Tenten, possibly the most tomboyish, most sarcastic, most un-romantic, and most weapon-crazed woman in all of Konoha.

The reason?

Because he knew he would never forgive himself if he would never see her walking down the aisle in a wedding dress, heading for him.

Ah, there was simply no use scrutinizing the logic of matters when it comes to that woman. Her little faults and nuances perfected the one woman he would ever love as long as he lived.

“… and one of the deadliest arts known to man in combat is grappling. And I’m proud to inform my husband that his wife is particularly gifted in that field of martial arts,” said Tenten.

He turned to her with a sigh. “Really?” It was the most intelligent comment he could come up with—disappointment still hung around his shoulders like boulders with ACME engraved on them.

She smiled brightly. “Why, of course!” She drew closer to him. “In fact, I’ve studied one discipline of it just for you.”

“Which one?”

To his surprise, she suddenly pounced on him, her hands pushing his chest down to the bed. A silly grin formed on her face. “Bed grappling.”

“H-Huh?” What a peculiar name for a fighting tech—Neji’s thoughts halted when her hands began to loosen the knot of his robe. It took only a couple of seconds for her hands to reveal the nakedness of his chest.

“Without using hands or legs, a grappling master—or mistress, in my case—can bring her opponent down to his knees on surrender.” Her fingers teased and caressed him from underneath the gray cloth wrapped around him.

White-hot desire flooded his senses. His hands automatically came up on her, reciprocating her every touch, every thrill she gave him. She bent down on his face, mere inches separating their faces.

She was looking down at him, her gaze smoldering. In a tight whisper, she continued to tease. “And know what? Applying just the right pressure… just the right touch on her opponent’s most sensitive part can finish the battle decisively.”

“Hmm?” he murmured lazily, bathing her face with light, feathery kisses. He knew she understood what he said; translated it to ‘Let’s see you do it then’.

And she did what every good weapon should: meld into the man completely and become as one.

…………..

Fin

 



Gravity [fanfic]

[read]

Gravity

…………………………………………..

She heard it. The vacant echoes of her empty laugh rang in her ears amidst the rowdy and boisterous mirth of the pub where she and her reluctant companion had settled in that evening.

He looked up at her. Disapprovingly. “Five bottles.”

“Are you telling me I had enough?” she asked, her eyes crinkling.

“Certainly I am not displaying my skills in elementary arithmetic.”

“I am not drunk, if that is what you are saying.” She took another swig and smiled brightly at him, as if it would prove to this unenlightened individual named Hyuuga Neji the brilliant point she was trying to make.

He didn’t look impressed. “You just told me that you wished you could sew baby socks. Minutes earlier, you were chirping something about how cute Kurenai’s daughter was. And an hour ago, you were wondering why God didn’t give you some culinary talent that will at least allow you to cook sunny side-up eggs with the yolks intact.”

She felt herself flush, although it could just probably be because of the beer. “So? Granted that I lack overall coherence. Am I being graded right now for composition writing or something?”

“Even your sense of humor is appalling.” The Hyuuga, who had obviously refused to touch the glass of liquor she generously gave to him, shook his head. “It isn’t about your coherence. It’s about those ideas that these damn spirits are putting into your mouth.” He motioned to one of the waiters nearby, who looked quite harassed. It was that time of the evening in the pub when the patrons were starting to get rowdy and vociferous, no thanks to the intoxicating spirited drinks that the establishment offers at such astronomical prices.

Even with her numbing wits, she realized what he did. Irked, she pushed his arm down on the table, scowling. “It’s my birthday. I’m the one who’ll say whether the celebration is over or not.”

She saw surprise in his eyes which mirrored her own. After all, it wasn’t everyday that she acted like this, petulantly defying her partner’s decision. But the light-headed sensation within her gave her courage she never knew she had when around her longtime teammate and friend.

Satisfied that he was effectively silenced, she turned her attention to his untouched drink. “You’re really that loyal to orange juice, Neji?” she asked, looking at him with an inquiring brow.

“Don’t involve my beverage preference in this.” His voice was that of an exhausted father talking to his hyper three-year-old daughter. He looked down at the tabletop, probably cursing himself for not stopping her from drinking when she was still on her second bottle.

Oh, but even the man whom she respected the most could not stop her from doing what she liked. Today was her special day, although for other people, that was open to arguments. She still did her missions for the day, polished her same familiar tools, and greeted the same old people she encountered in the Hokage office everyday—despite the fact that Tsunade-sama earlier told her that she didn’t need to report for work to celebrate her natal date.

But she had also been defying that order for seven years straight—her mission calendar was simply too busy to be disturbed by twenty-four hours of nostalgia and sentimentality.

After all, who wanted to stay alone in her apartment the whole day with nothing to do but answer birthday greetings on the phone and eat store-bought chocolate cakes alone?

However, tonight, she actually made time to arrange for her and Neji to meet for a drink or two. Lately, she had been seeing less and less of her favorite teammate due to her obsession to never leave a mission gathering dust on the Hokage’s table, but she hoped that this won’t stop the both of them from having a good time tonight.

Apparently though, it was only her laughter that was dominating the air around them. And it sounded all so painfully hollow, like a sad mime chuckling.

Neji’s mood resembled that of a graveyard on a January winter night. He couldn’t even be polite enough to nod and acknowledge her jokes, her stories, and her rants. He simply watched her in silence, as if waiting for her mouth to run out of steam.

But she didn’t allow him that satisfaction. She went on and on, telling him about her most memorable missions and unforgettable lessons she earned from these experiences. When she felt she had related enough tales to complete an epical novel but still she had not won his interest, she started to take longer sips of her drink in between her babbling. As time passed, she hardly grew aware of how more loosely was she speaking. The things she wouldn’t usually discuss with other people flowed out with her voice like a river rushing to meet the sea of noises inside the saloon.

Yet something in his eyes told her that he heard her loud and clear. And he had just verified it, when he effortlessly recited to her the things, mostly forbidden, which she didn’t notice she had already voiced out loud.

“Let’s have a walk outside,” decided Neji. And this time, she could only watch as he called the waiter back again to pay for the drinks only she enjoyed.

She closed her eyes and rested her head on the table, the rail of the train of her thoughts dismantling along with the clarity of her vision. She fought back the waves of nausea that hit her and forced herself to shut thoughts and sensation out.

But she still sensed him—his voice calling her name, his hand slightly patting her arm. Her heart skipping a beat.

How does one shut out the heart anyway?

…………………………….

“You can still walk?” he asked uncertainly as she clumsily ambled on the sidewalk.

“Of course!” Her speech slowed, some of her words sounded slurred, but she knew she wasn’t overtaken by drunkenness yet. “I have two feet! The left and the right! Hold them up high, so clean and bright!”

She heard him sigh, so she decided not to continue the ‘clap them softly, one, two three’ part of the nursery ditty. Instead, she said, “I wonder what time it is.”

“Probably three or four in the morning.” The conscientious Hyuuga Neji had marked off this answer based on the amount of darkness that enveloped them.

“I still have to meet the Godaime at eight in the morning.”

“I’ll ask a messenger to inform her that you are still resting, and have the schedule reset.”

She felt a lump form in her throat. It was like the good ole days, indeed, when her teammate would order her to sit back and rest her flu away even if she insisted to go with him and do their routine sparring sessions, and on his return in the afternoon, he would bring with her fresh fruits he picked for her on his way home.

“There’s no need for that, Neji,” she said gently. “I can manage.”

“Of course,” he said, only a shadow of hurt in his voice. Silent as his actions may speak, they both knew he had grew up looking after her all his life, and he could have continued to do so if only…

She shook her head vehemently. It was ancient history, and it was no use digging it up once more.

“Pastel-colored swing sets?”

“Huh?” She looked up at him, puzzled. His gaze directed her to the swing set which was newly-installed by the Godaime in the Academy to replace the old, rickety ones that were erected way back the Sandaime’s rule.

 She smiled. “Want to try them out, Neji? It’s the best time to do so, now that no one’s looking. I won’t tell your relatives, I promise.”

He shrugged.

……………………………

She pushed the swing seat higher with her legs. Feeling the wind rush to her face made her even giddier. “Neji, a little more push and I’m airborne!”

The Hyuuga’s swing was slower, more controlled. “You’ve always loved flying,” he said quietly, almost pensively.

His soft tone doused her cheery spirit. “The exhilaration of flight is incomparable,” she shared gently.

“Which is why nothing can keep you grounded.”

She licked her lips, out of having nothing to say about that. They both knew what he was referring to. His marriage proposal she turned down a decade ago. Her fear of marriage being a magnificent prison of gold that would snatch her liberty of conquering the skies to see just how high she could really fly.

It was a topic she had always been afraid to touch with a ten-foot pole, but she knew would be inevitably opened someday.

And that someday was now, apparently.

“I’ve always believed that love is like gravity,” she murmured, “It holds a person back. It wears one’s desire to fly higher, the way it discourages the wings of birds and the adventures of kites and balloons. And I’ve always wanted only one thing—to overcome limits. To overcome the heights other people can only stare at in awe. I disregarded it as a silly little sentiment that only weaklings succumb to.”

Her body rocked back and forth gently. “Many years later, I found out that I was right. Having no dependents, I have reached a status that is miles away from what my female colleagues have reached.”

“In a few more years, you can become like Tsunade-sama,” agreed Neji softly. “Count a couple more or so, and you’ll become the strongest woman in the continent… or in the whole world. You’ve flown well, the way you once swore to me.”

“Yes. I’ve flown so well, I’ve reached a distance that gravity cannot anymore touch, and there I saw what remained was emptiness.” She exhaled audibly, painfully. “I was right, indeed. Love is like gravity. Yet I saw that notion in a different light.”

He looked at her in surprise.

“It holds us back and keeps our feet on the ground to remind us that one does not have to seek elsewhere for our happiness. It teaches us contentment. It allows us to soar a little, but to land back on firm ground and find our own nests, where the people we love are.

“This I’ve realized too late, for having escaped gravity, I’ve given up my chance to fall back—to return to the people and places that my heart yearns for.” She shut her eyes tight, keeping her threatening emotion surges in check.

“Then why not go back?” he wanted to know.

“Go back… impossible.” She shook her head, smiling with sadness. “I only want to return to one thing… to one person…”

His eyes shook.

“But he, too, must return to his own place… to his own nest.”

Seven years is seven years. Too many things had happened. It’s too late, Neji. But she voiced out none of these. Instead, straightening, she pocketed her hands into her pants and started to walk ahead. “Morning beckons, Neji.”

He was about to say something, his eyes voicing out volumes of concern, but she interrupted him. A facetious smile on her face as she displayed her forearm’s biceps, she chirped, “A grown woman can find her way home, Neji. Even the drunk ones.”

At last, he smiled—perhaps in his heart, he knew that she was a being made of sterner stuff. She was too determined and iron-willed a creature to be kept down by regrets and illicit longing. Further heights await her, the high-flying dove of Konoha.

And that smile he gave her, one which shone brighter than the first rays of that fateful dawn, would probably be her last and most precious memory of him which she would take with her in her flight; something she would treasure and keep as she resumed to tread down the proverbial road less-traveled.

The skies wait for her.

……………..

Fin




We Might as Well be Strangers [graphics] [view]
Mine [banner]

[view]


 

 

Neji:            Tsunade-sama, being the woman that Tenten admires the most, I have taken the liberty of deeming you as her guardian.

Tsunade:    The Hyuuga Branch child, eh? If Tenten here owes you some dough, I'm not covering for her--

Neji:            This is most definitely not about money, Hokage-sama.

Tsunade:    OK, good.

Neji:            As I was saying, I wish to inform you that I have only the purest of intentions with regards to Tenten. Tsunade-sama, I wish to make her mine.

Tsunade:    *blinks*

Neji:            I will be a very happy man if you shall allow me to take her hand--

Tsunade:    -- and lead her to bed? I will not allow it until your clan revise those dumb rules on fellatio in their Kama Sutra thingie.

Neji:              ...

Tenten:        Tsunade-sama, he was asking if he could marry me.

Tsunade:    Oh. I thought it was the Hyuuga way of saying 'lay'.





Gamble [banner] [view]
Running [avatar] [view]
Razorblade Kiss [drabble]

[view]

“Tenten!”

It wasn’t the anger or the authority in his voice that made her stop from marching away. But she halted from advancing towards the sliding doors separating the well-tended garden outside from the suffocating space that she and teammate Hyuuga Neji now shared.

“Walking out on a conversation is immature, especially for you,” he said, sounding disappointed.

Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! She turned to him violently, eyes blazing in indignation. “You aren’t lagging too far behind in the childishness race, don’t worry.”

This made more lines form on his haggard face. “What is wrong, Tenten?”

Her cheeks heated in fury. “Figure it out! You’re a clan genius, aren’t you?”

“I only remember one thing I’ve done this morning, and that is I’ve asked you to marry me,” he said calmly. “This is hardly the response I was expecting from you. I was anticipating a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. But this behavior hardly counts as a proper answer.”

“I asked you why you wanted to marry me,” she reminded him, clenching her fists.

“And I answered you, didn’t I?” he said, shrugging.

“Are you referring to that crap about ‘continuing the bloodline’ and ‘protecting the clan’s interests’?” she asked caustically.

His brows furrowed. “Is there a problem with that?”

“Yes,” she hissed. “Those cold, empty proposals, I could accept that you would offer to other women—“

“I want no other woman but you.”

“I want to be wanted for the right reasons, not for those calculated advantages you’ve assessed!” she said angrily. “I thought that you could have at least respected me as your friend for so many years—“

“I do. That is why you are the first and only marriage prospect I hold.” His tone was that of a man whose patience was being tested. “You, being the lone person who understand me, who understand my clan’s circumstances, who I know can be an able wife of a future clan head—“

“Naruto understands you too,” she interrupted. “Why don’t you marry him?”

“Stop being foolish.” Neji took a deep breath before he continued. “I also offered this to you because we have known each other for long. If I would settle down permanently, the most workable set-up for me is to live with someone I am most comfortable and familiar with.”

“Damn you, Neji! I swear—“

A brief smile displayed itself on his face. “To the point that you can curse me like that and yet I can only find myself amused.”

“You only think of yourself! And what about me? What about my personal feelings?” she demanded.

“I will be a good provider,” he assured her. “And a faithful husband.”

Her cheeks reddened.

Neji continued. “I am well aware of your dreams to become the next strongest woman in the world. I want you to know that I will support you in that endeavor. Your married status will not tie you down to the House. I will see to that.”

“You make it all sound so convenient,” she commented sarcastically. “I’m sorry to say, though, that marriage isn’t just a business transaction closed just like that.” She snapped her fingers for emphasis. “I won’t marry you, Neji.”

He looked at her intently. “Any significant reason for that, Tenten?”

“I won’t marry for any other reason than love,” she said firmly.

“And you are in love with someone else?” His voice hit an edge, despite efforts of remaining calm.

She rolled her eyes. “No, Neji. To set the record straight, I’ve never been in love with any other person. How can I, if you won’t give me a chance? You’re always by my side, sending all the wrong signals to the other men—“

“We call it ‘territorial marking’,” he supplied in his most helpful tone.

“Thank you,” she said sarcastically. “Anyway, I’ve only been in love once, but right now I am seriously re-considering my emotions.”

Despite the fact that she was practically breathing smoke out of her nostrils, he still had the audacity to smile. “You love me? Well, that certainly makes things easier for us,” he said, sounding highly pleased.
”Conceited pig.”

“Once the fire is started, it’ll be easy to keep it roaring—even that of embers.” He crossed his arms. “So let me ask you again: Tenten, will you marry me?”
She massaged her aching temples furiously. “No.”

“No?”

“You see, Neji, marriage is like a sparring session,” she explained through gritted teeth. “If one doesn’t fight back, the whole game is doomed. You might as well have fought with your shadow. Or with those bananas in pajamas.”

“Reciprocation, is that it?” he asked, amused.

Her cheeks turned red. “I’m not forcing you to do so! Unlike you and the way you impose your absurd offer on me!”

“Love has always been there for you, Tenten,” he said gently. “Even before you understood those girly romances that your girlfriends had polluted your mind with, I had always did.”

She knew he was right, of course. To name his constant looking after her and his intimate companionship with anything else was asinine. Had he been anyone else but Hyuuga Neji, she could have termed it as ‘friendship’. But for someone like him who harbored little interest for social circles and chose the people whom he speaks his mind to, she knew she was someone different in his perception.

But still…

“No.”

“No?” he echoed, stunned that she outwardly refused him for the sixth time in a span of one hour.

“If you think romance is just another ‘pollutant’ as you put it, then think again,” she spat out. “What life awaits a married life without romance?”

“A lifetime of friendship, of discovery, of doing things together,” he replied simply.

She clenched her fists. “Care to ask what my own concept of that relationship is?”

He looked at her expectantly.

In two quick steps, she drew towards him and kissed him hard, her teeth savagely biting and gathering the bruised moistness of his mouth, disregarding his startled and hurt moans.

Her mouth left his as quickly as it came. Gasping for breath, he stared at her, demanding for an explanation.

“That, Neji, is the love that you want.” Having said that, she walked away, leaving him in daze.

……………………………………..

Tsunade laughed, making her scowl at her idol.

“Comparing his unromantic love to a cold, calculated kiss.” The older woman could have found the kunoichi’s narration hilarious, if it weren’t so cruel. Girls these days were a trifle too idealistic when it comes to the affairs of the heart. Must be those soap operas that poison their minds.

“Is the weighing inappropriate?” the brown-haired Jounin wanted to know.

“Not really. You just told him that you want a man who will give you flowers, sing you songs by your window, and buy you fancy rings.” The Hokage cocked her head sideways. “That, my dear, is romance. Something every girl wants to experience in her life.”

“Is it wrong to seek something like that in a relationship?” Tenten wanted to know.

“Oh, but romance is a natural course everyone passes through in the ship of love. But like every other straits, it is… optional.” The blonde tipped her chin thoughtfully. “Love happens in many ways, and the most common way is by wooing. Love in the forms of chocolates in heart-shaped boxes and cheesy poetry. But love also forms between hatred, between wars, between forbidding circumstances, between emptiness, and yes, between ordinary things and events. In the Hyuuga’s case, his love has been an everyday kind of thing for him.”

“Like air?” she tried.

Her idol nodded. “It’s hard to acknowledge air with lavish gratitude for its existence. We just do it by simply knowing it is there. Your little boylet must think of circumstances in the same way.”

“Air and women are two different things,” she said, mostly to herself.

“Indeed. But analogy is not about complete similarity—it’s about finding a common ground.” The Godaime cupped her chin and gazed at her intently. “My two cents, dear. Flowers wilt, songs go out of tune, and rings lose sparkle when Time plays its music. But emotion is stronger than we usually give it credit for.”

…………………………….

As Tenten walked out of the Hokage’s office, she pondered on the Hokage-sama’s words. Is that her way of telling me that romance is ephemeral in the grander scheme of things, namely love? Would she really opt for the uncertainties and insecurities of romance rather than the assuring bond that Neji was offering her?

Her thoughts dissipated when something appeared in front of her face.

A bunch of pink hibiscuses clumped together by an awkward bow was held out to her face by the balled-up fist of Hyuuga Neji.

She blinked.

“Take it.” He looked more embarrassed than impatient. “I nearly got devoured by the ants living near its tree. I was too caught up gathering them that I didn’t notice I’ve stepped on the anthill.”

“I-I see…” She took them gingerly and brought them near to her heavily-beating heart. “T-Thank you.”

He offered her his arm, to her surprise. After a second of hesitation, she took it. They both walked down, wordlessly immersed in their thoughts.

After a while, Neji spoke first. “After you stormed off, I went to see my cousin, Hinata-sama.”

“R-Really?” she stammered.

He nodded. “I was frustrated by your bizarre behavior, and so I confided this to her. I have breached several clan codes and protocols in doing so—burdening the member of the Main Family with concerns that were merely personal and didn’t involve the welfare of the whole clan. Hinata-sama was kind enough to let it go though.”

She nodded. Having met the young woman numerous times since their genin days, she knew enough to say that clan statuses aside, Hinata would readily give any person the time of her day to lend a sympathetic ear.

“She hammered into my head a few things about dealing with women. She practically called me ‘insensitive’.” He had to chuckle at that. “She told me that love is too powerful an emotion to be compared to something like air, unseen but present. She said that if air manifests itself through breezes, then what more for a physically able person armed with languages and gesticulations like me?

“Love should be experienced completely, not just sensed or felt. Women needed solid signs of affection, may it be through words, actions, or material things like what I brought you.” He eyed the flowers dryly, perhaps remembering again his encounter with the most powerful insect in the world.

“She said that, huh?” she remarked, feeling her mouth twitch.

“And most importantly, she told me not to underestimate romance,” he concluded. “It’s one of the few things that keep people in love with each other. And since I want to keep you for a very long time, I have embarked on learning this… complicated process.”

She couldn’t help it—she laughed out loud, making him frown.

“What ever is the matter, Tenten?” he demanded.

She shook her head, still giggling. Only Hyuuga Neji would call wooing a ‘complicated process’ and not sound half as annoying as others would. In fact, she felt… special. He would learn an art he never knew that existed, if only for her.

If it wasn’t love, she didn’t know what else it was.

“Your lips still hurt?” she decided to ask instead, tiptoeing to examine the damage her teeth caused on them.

“Pft.” He embarrassedly turned away, but her hand cupped his cheek, stopping him.

Her eyes softened. “Let’s do it right this time.”

“With romance?” he asked, now smiling a bit too.

“And with love,” she agreed before crossing the few inches separating their faces.

…………..

Fin

 

 





 
 
Current Location: Cousin's house
Current Mood: relievedrelieved
Current Music: whirling blades of e-fan
 
 
 
Tentenlau_kun on October 29th, 2006 03:13 pm (UTC)
*looks around* looks like LJ's tweaking a few things in their system... anyway, *gawk*... long time no write syao. ^_^

You shot me with Razorblade Kiss, Listen;and, you made me gape amazed me with the we might as well be strangers banner. How on earth did you do that? ^_^

later. =)
silverteardropxsilverteardropx on October 29th, 2006 04:09 pm (UTC)
ILMAO!!! ha OMG TSUNDAE (sp?)!!! i LUB the MINE one!!!
wingsover: puppywingsover on October 29th, 2006 05:31 pm (UTC)
Whoa! Unexpected goodness in the last moment! Awesome. It's like having a dinner and then an utterly delicious dessert comes by and you didn't know you could have it but you DID and my comment is bordering on the non-sensical now. :P

I love the letter from Sincerely Yours, especially Gai-sensei's comments. Hee. And did Neji really have a banjo? I also loved Five Days (Hizashi was a very intelligent man!) and Listen. ^___^ LOL'd, honestly.

Awesome work, as always, syao-chan.
syao-chan: card captor sakurasyaoran_no_hime on November 1st, 2006 11:52 am (UTC)
Wow, thanks ^^And yes, Neji does have a banjo. As a Furuba character once said, every man has his own, uh, secret garden XD
rong_chan on October 29th, 2006 05:38 pm (UTC)
XD Nice collection!
omim0miji on October 29th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
boylet :)) XDXD~~
syao-chansyaoran_no_hime on November 1st, 2006 11:54 am (UTC)
Nyaha! Nakakahawa bading termz mo ^^
riri: xoxocrimson_riot on October 29th, 2006 11:55 pm (UTC)
Whoa! That was ten flavors of win! Razorblade Kiss is my favorite! Perfect way to end a series of awesome NejiTen themes. (Watching Neji have a shread of boyish charm... priceless.) Super sweet~! Fabulous job!
syao-chansyaoran_no_hime on November 1st, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
Thank u ^^
Cat: NejiTen [ razorblade kiss ]light_flower on October 30th, 2006 01:37 am (UTC)
Ooh, these were awesome. You have much talent in both writing and graphics, I'd say ♥ I especially loved 'Sincerely Yours' and 'Razorblade Kiss'.

Here is your banner, hope you like ^^;

ameryumeameryume on October 30th, 2006 05:15 am (UTC)
Wow~ Amazing~~ ^^ I loved It's Been Five Days (Di ko inexpect na ganun ung isusulat mo.. and unique~ XD Pero, sa bagay, lagi namang unique ginagawa mo eh! XD), Sincerely Yours (Nice one! :no1:), We Might as Well Be strangers (Panu mo un nagawa? Napatitig ako sa screen nung nakita ko un XD) and Razorblade Kiss XDD

I missed reading your stories! XD (Parang kagabi lang binasa ko ung "About A Daddy and A Nanny" XD)
syao-chansyaoran_no_hime on November 1st, 2006 11:40 am (UTC)
wakekeke! ty po ^^ i used Animation Shop po for the Strangers ani pic.

Ehehe, mejo hirap po ako sa Nanny, pero doing my best po na maayos ang gusot. Thanks po 4 d comment! :)
ameryumeameryume on November 2nd, 2006 01:10 am (UTC)
Kaya mo yan! ^^ We'll patiently wait for the next chapter~ Wahehehe~
(Anonymous) on November 2nd, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)
syao-chan here :)
Thank you for the very cute banner! ^^
pariahsdream on October 30th, 2006 05:00 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed all of these. You gave them a realism without losing optimism which I like. I think I like Razorblade Kiss the best (though it was close with Listen ;) ) because it was both of them learning. Very nice.
xiaojiang on October 30th, 2006 08:35 am (UTC)
very nice. it is now very late but i'm still up reading your stories. it was differently worth it. i especially love your gravity one. it was a little on the sad side but very well structure and the emotions are just right. keep up the good work!
wildcattmiss_wildcatt on October 30th, 2006 01:14 pm (UTC)
Marriage sure has been on your mind a lot, hasn't it? ^_^ Is someone dreaming of being a bride herself, hmmm?

Just teasing! Awesome work, as usual. I've always loved the idea of refusing marriage proposals, so reading Gravity was a bittersweet pleasure.
scar13tscar13t on November 2nd, 2006 07:11 am (UTC)
lols he wants to keep her for a very long time! that's so cute! that makes tenten sound like a pair of shoes or something! haha