sireensilver (sireensilver) wrote in nejiten,
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Ficcage; Two Sides Of Their Whole pt2

Title: The Two Sides Of Their Whole: Part 2 (tails)
Rating: Somewhere along Teen to Mature
Genre: Romantic marriage? LOL. That was my goal in the beginning but this one ended up becoming quite a mystery. ;)

Notes: Okay, this one became a monster. I should have worked on it right away after the first part, but my own love life among other things got a little hectic. You'd think being recently married would help my characterization in the situation, but nooo... Anyway, I kind of lost sight of what I was going for, but on the whole I'm just glad it's done. Originally I remember it was supposed to be the same size as the first one (symmetry, bah) as well as... uh... more mature. >_> So, no, not as steamy as part 1, but I think I can save the heat for another time.

Also, I am becoming a little too addicted to Neji torture; generally messing with his head if fun.

-|-|-|-|-|-

Ring out old shapes of foul disease,
Ring out the narrowing lust of gold;
Ring out the thousand wars of old,
Ring in the thousand years of peace.

--In Memoriam: “Ring Out, Wild Bells”, Lord Alfred Tennyson


-|

Hyuuga Neji did not allow himself to be consumed with thoughts of his wife. It was part of what made him an excellent ninja. The mission was to be a solid two months, and that was that. He worked swiftly but steadily—he didn’t rush, didn’t do sloppy work.

Even if the person concerned didn’t deserve his good work.

“Look, it’s not about the money,” a very peeved Nara Shikamaru was telling the wheedling man. Their four-man unit was surrounding him, faces undeterminable by the masks but auras pissed. “But you should have disclosed all the information before expecting us to complete it flawlessly.”

“But I couldn’t risk being refused!” the client said, looking very much like he was sniveling. “Anyway I can disclose everything now, and pay later, what’s the problem?”

“The problem is that now we’ll be half a month delayed,” Shikamaru growled. “We’re obliged to complete this mission for you, but you’re really going to pay when you get back. It’s not even in my hands anymore. Tch, how troublesome…”

Another half a month it was, even if none of them were particularly happy with the ratty client. After all, they had been led to believe that they were helping a man of virtue against a horde of particularly unsavory black market traders, and it turns out he is the lowest of them…

He treated his irritation with the client the same way he treated his love and lust for his wife: he quelled it, for the duration of the mission. Even if he wanted to give the client a particularly painful beating.

“This was the worst,” Yamanaka Ino was saying angrily to Shikamaru on their way home, two weeks later. “I don’t see why we don’t just stick a kunai on him and be done with it.”

“We can’t forget our places,” said Aburame Shino, speaking up uncharacteristically. Perhaps he wanted to spare Shikamaru of any more headaches. It was a good thing the Godaime put together a well-balanced team. Neji didn’t like to think about how things could have been if Naruto had been one of them. With all due respect to the blond, of course.

“Whatever,” Ino grumbled. “Once Tsunade’s through with him he either gets Anko or Ibiki, and either way he won’t be a happy camper.”

Over Neji’s shoulder, like a beat-up sack of potatoes, the treacherous client whimpered and regretted attempting to get away with having them killed when he no longer needed them

Home, Neji thought, in one split second of idleness. Where I’m always needed.

-

Home, Neji thought again, blankly. Where was Tenten?

Their home seemed awfully, awfully empty without her. He wondered if it was weakness to feel thoroughly disappointed that she wasn’t there to greet him. Maybe he should have come straight, but that was impossible considering the seriousness of the mission.

He had to attend to reporting everything to the Hokage, and it had taken a while, but Tsunade said that she wasn’t on any missions. The last one she went to with Hinata and Chouji ended almost a month before Neji’s did…

He frowned. A month? That was an unusually long time to go without missions, glad as he was that it at least meant she was home.

“NEJI!” Lee came, a bellowing ball of energy as always. “You’re back! I haven’t seen you in ages!

Neji allowed him a tilt of the head and a really small but genuine smile. It kind of made him twitch to be affectionate to Lee for any reason, but he really was glad to see him. In an immune-to-Lee’s-quirks kind of way.

“Where’s Tenten?” Neji inquired. He’d been a good boy the whole mission, and now he really wanted to see her.

Lee shook his head. “I don’t know, I just got back from a mission as well. Although…”

Neji arched an eyebrow. “What is it?”

“I’ve been to see Sakura-san,” Lee confessed. “And she mentioned it in passing, but she said that Tenten’s been to see Tsunade several times.”

“So?”

“Well,” Lee scrunched up his face, trying to remember. “Sakura-san said that none of the visits seemed to be mission-related. But she just said it was an observation.”

It struck Neji that Lee came to their house looking for Tenten as well. He was probably even subconsciously concerned. Neji let the information touch him for a moment, feeling grateful that Lee cared. He really was a better person sometimes.

“Let me know if you find her,” said Neji, becoming thoughtful and a little concerned himself.

Lee saluted. “Right away! If I don’t find her by sunset I’ll run three hundred hand-stand laps around Konoha. If that fails I’ll do four hundred blocks…” So saying he dashed off.

Neji decided to check the training grounds before trying with Tsunade herself. He had just been with the Hokage, but she failed to mention anything about Tenten visiting and… consulting her for something?

Neji frowned. People only consulted Tsunade for two things: mission-related things, and medical-related things. If, judging from the inactiveness Tenten seemed to have that month, it wasn’t mission-related then it had to be…

Unconsciously Neji sped up, not intensely so but enough to be walking rather briskly.

When he got to the training clearing, his heart did a very subtle but very disappointed drop. His need to see her was becoming almost childish. On top of that, he suspected he was becoming insane. Tenten sometimes said he had a thing for histrionics, but he really felt like he was losing his mind.

Not that he would say so aloud, but he was so deep in his own thoughts that a noise behind him made him jump away and activate his Byakugan.

“Whoa, easy,” said Ino, holding her hands up. “Geez, Neji, did living on camp patrol for two months make you paranoid?”

He deactivated his Byakugan. “I’m sorry,” he said, noticing that she wasn’t alone. Akimichi Chouji was with her, looking somewhat more impressive than when Neji last cared to really look at him. Though the hand in the potato chip bag somewhat lessened the effect. “What are you doing here?”

“Tenten told us we could train here,” Ino said. “I saw her on her way to Tsunade-sama’s. I’m a little too worked up to shower and crash, so I asked Chouji to do some wind-down training. We’re meeting Shikamaru later at…” She frowned. “Hey, are you all right?”

Neji merely looked at her, his mind wallowing. Ino tilted her head and exchanged a look with Chouji, then asked, “Have you… talked to Tenten yet?”

He shook his head, puzzling over the looks they were giving him.

“Oh,” said Ino, then fell silent. There was a pregnant pause.

Chouji spoke up. “You should go see her,” he said awkwardly.

Neji outright frowned, but nodded curtly and went on his way after a short goodbye. He was irrationally annoyed. Of course he should see his wife. What did they think he was trying to do?

He made his way back to the building of the Hokage’s office, his mind slowly but steadily getting worried. Was there something Tenten didn’t tell him? She had a terrible habit of doing that. He remembered the time she had yelled at him and Lee for the injuries they gained during that one mission—he had a horrible, deep gash from a split second of panic, and Lee had a painful twisted sprain. She went on and on about how she couldn’t believe the two of them would be so stupid, just because they thought she was in danger, and now Neji was going to bleed to death—and dammit Lee stop moving.

Both of them jumped in between her and a multitude of enemies when they heard her cry out in pain.

I can take care of myself, she had snarled, as she tended their injuries and bonked their heads together (Neji still couldn’t believe how much dignity he lost that day). Lee weakly pointed out that she was hurt, too, but she shushed him and said hers were minor thanks to their heroic (but still stupid deeds).

And then later that night, he had gone on guard duty, and he caught her sneaking off to the river. Somehow he ended up close enough to see that she was washing the cuts she got. Nothing unusual there, except that she seemed to be moving so slowly all of a sudden.

Neji caught her before her head hit the water. Poison, she managed to choke out. I’m sorry.

They had to rush back to Konoha through the night, and Tsunade had given them a horrible talking to about how poisons needed to be treated right away—and why was it that Lee and Neji had used up the painkillers?

They explained what they knew (rather, what they had not known) and Tsunade had averted her scolding to Tenten.

Neji remembered all of that, among other times when she was so intent on not being a burden that she put herself at risk. Neji hated it, called her on it, loved her for it—but was this the case now?

His resolve to find her was hardened as he went right into the building, without so much as a greeting to the people who worked there.

“Neji-kun?”

Not even Shizune managed to make him completely stop out of courtesy, and she was one who never irked him before.

“Ah… Neji-kun?”

He glanced over his shoulder.

“You haven’t gone home yet?”

“Have you seen Tenten?” he asked, not really answering her question.

“Tenten? Yes…”

He stopped and turned.

“She just left,” Shizune explained. “Is something wrong?”

He wanted to run off to find her, but he decided to try and keep his cool. Wasn’t he known for being calm, or something? “Has she… Lee says she’s been coming to see Tsunade?”

“Yes,” said Shizune, turning a very slight (but noticeable, to Neji) shade of red. “You… haven’t seen her yet?”

Neji ran.

-

Neji didn’t know where he was running to, but somehow he ended up home in unbelievable time. It took him the last ounce of his rationale to understand that nobody assured him that Tenten was on her way straight home when she left. If she did, he might have overtaken her in his… sprint. Or, she could have made a stop elsewhere.

But where else would she go?

Neji was getting worked up, he knew, but he couldn’t help it. Something about her made him go wild sometimes, at least inwardly. He was amazed that nobody seemed to think he was crazy yet, because he himself was certainly sold.

He decided to take a shower.

Their bath was spacious, but he didn’t feel like soaking in luxury after a mission. He took a hot shower, turning the thoughts in his head over and over until they burned to oblivion. He kept himself so engrossed in his thoughts that he almost didn’t hear it.

But there it was. Footsteps.

He shut off the shower, yanked on some loose robes and was out of the bathroom in one fluid movement. In another smooth and otherwise not-so-smooth motion, he had her pinned to the wall the same second the door opened.

She nearly cut his throat with a kunai from each hand, and his groin barely escaped a well-aimed kick. Tenten seemed ready to rebound with the other leg when she realized just who it was sandwiching her with the wall.

“Neji!” she cried out, dropping the kunai. “What the hell--Don’t ever do that again!”

She wrapped her arms around his neck her eyes still a little disbelieving. But she pulled herself up and kissed him, lingering and soft.

He pushed her by the shoulders. “Tenten—“

She looked confused. “What?”

“What’s wrong?” He asked, gripping her shoulders. “Is there something I need to know?”

She put her hands gently on his arms so he would loosen the hold on her shoulders. “Neji, what…” Then something seemed to click in her mind, and her eyes widened. “Wait, how did you know?”

He let go of her, staring at her in complete and utter disbelief. “So it’s true… and you didn’t tell me…” She gave him an odd look, and he shot at her, “I saw Yamanaka and Akimichi at the training grounds.” He paused, then tried to sound less sharp. “And… and then I went back to Tsunade-sama…”

She sank down on her knees, looking—tired? Why tired, Neji wondered—looking up at him with her brown eyes. She smiled wanly. “Oh, Neji, I’m sor—“ Then she frowned. “Wait, I didn’t know until after you left. I couldn’t have told you.”

“…You didn’t know until after I left?” Neji repeated. “But then…”

“Well, obviously,” said Tenten, still looking up at him from the floor. “I mean, I checked just once after the wedding, and that was probably overexcitement on my part but Tsunade-sama said it was natural. But then I checked again after you left, you know—and well… Neji?”

He didn’t understand a thing she just said, and he was giving her the look to prove it. They sort of stared at each other for a while, before Tenten broke the short silence.

“Neji… we’re not talking about the same thing, are we?”

“…No?”

She suddenly burst out laughing. It was a wonderful sound, but it only confused him even more. “Neji—what were you thinking?” She let herself laugh a bit more. “Never mind, I probably don’t want to know why you were all accusatory—but Neji—“ She was still looking up at him but he could see that her eyes were sparkling. “—Neji, I’m pregnant.”

Pause.

Thud.

“Wh—“ Neji couldn’t even say it.

“Wow, that actually looked painful,” Tenten remarked, wincing. Neji was now on down in front of her, palms flat on the floor beside his butt and eyes dazed.

Neji tried again. “Wh—“

Tenten laughed again, but moved forward on her knees. She bent a little and took Neji’s hands and placed them on her stomach.

“Almost three months,” she whispered. His eyes widened in complete and perfect shock as the news finally registered. How could he have not noticed the slight changes her body had made within the weeks he was gone? He was so busy thinking about… other things… and…

He later regretted grabbing her so suddenly, thinking of the baby (the baby!) but he couldn’t help it. He kept his arms around her for a long, long time.

-

“You think too much,” Tenten said later that night, her head under his chin. They were in the bathtub, since Neji was unwilling to part with her for even a second. In the coming months he would probably drive her mad with his attention, but for now it was nice. The warm bath water was nice. Her body on his was nice. He let his hand stroke her back gently.

Neji did think too much sometimes, but he didn’t see how that would change. Funny how on missions he was completely cool and calculating, a perfect ninja, and then back home he was—

Neji. Her husband. Tenten’s husband. He loved the thought, warmly. He could not imagine being anything other than a ninja, but that life was full of the blood and blade, the unrelenting vows to accomplish, destroy, and survive. It was most of his life now, but…

But she reminded him that it wasn’t his whole life. Here, with her, it was different.

He opened his eyes when he felt her move. She was taking his hand, picking it up and then putting it on her stomach. She pulled out one of the two rings on her finger and took his hand again, slipping on his wedding band.

“Welcome back,” she whispered, and Neji knew this was what contentment felt like.

-

-|[the end] [for now]|-

-

-

-|

{{Random postscript: Uh, I want to finish another part of that insta-message log thing I posted a while back. I've posted two, but I can only find one and not the second. I don't know why; it's possible I'm being pea-brained again, but I really can't seem to find it. Any directions would be appreciated, since I don't have the original files and I need to check out the previous ones for uniformity's sake (and to eliminate anything inconsistent). Thanks in advance.}}

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