Summary: One snowy Christmas Eve, Tenten waits for Neji in the forest...
Notes: My first Nejiten! Hope they're in character.
One Fine Day
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.
Tenten stood in the midst of a clearing in the forest, her face turned upwards to the falling snow. She closed her eyes and allowed herself to relax as the snow gradually blanketed the area around her and drowned out all the noise from the forest, facilitating her meditation.
Contrary to popular belief, winter was one of Tenten's favourite seasons. She loved to see how the snow blanketed the village, turning it into a virtual winter wonderland. And truth be told, the cold didn't really bother her either - once she was bundled up, she was fine. In addition, the snow provided quite an interesting challenge when it came to training which was always conducted every day of every week, barring Sundays - that was just the way it was once you were in Team Gai.
But the best part of winter was, of course, Christmas. It wasn't so much the excitement of getting presents that she anticipated (although that was still a factor), so much as the camaraderie and goodwill that seemed to fill everyone in the village when Christmas time rolled around. Granted Konoha was already one of the more unified ninja villages, it still appeared to Tenten that people were just a little kinder and more generous when Christmas, the season of hope and new beginnings, was upon them.
Her eyes snapped open as she heard footsteps approaching her. She took a deep breath as she looked down at the small parcel in her hands. It was a present, wrapped tightly in silver paper with a white bow. She smiled slightly, sure that it was perfect for the intended recipient.
"Tenten. You wanted to see me." It wasn't so much a question as a statement but by now, she was used to Neji's terse mode of conversing.
She turned to him then, a bright smile gracing her face, "Yes. Thanks for coming."
He nodded and watched her expectantly. He had only come out here because she'd requested to speak with him - he had no other business with her today and as such, he had nothing to add to the conversation.
"I just wanted to give you this. Merry Christmas," she stated as she held the present out to him.
He eyed it warily for a second before reaching out and taking it from her. He frowned as he looked down at it - this was unusual, her giving him a present. He knew that she always gave one to Gai-sensei and to Lee but there always seemed to be a tacit understanding between them that they didn't exchange gifts...or so he'd thought. He examined the bundle in his hands - it was small and light weight ad he couldn't stop himself from wondering what it was. Aware of Tenten's eyes on him however, he looked up and fixed her with his own piercing gaze, "Is this all?"
He saw her eyes widen slightly but her smile didn't falter. She nodded, "Yes, that's all."
He nodded curtly, "Well then, thank you. I will see you tomorrow at training."
He turned to go but she stopped him with, "Neji, we don't have training tomorrow, remember? It's Christmas."
He paused, thought about it for a moment and then upon realizing that she was indeed correct, said, "My mistake. The day after then. Good-bye Tenten."
She watched him walk away, listening as his uninterrupted, quiet footfalls grew fainter and eventually receded altogether. She sighed dejectedly, 'He didn't even ask why I gave him a present. My plan didn't work.' "Oh well, I guess there's always next year," Tenten concluded as she turned and began to slowly make her way through the woods back to her home.
When he was back in the village itself, Neji stopped and looked down again at the parcel in his hands. He scanned the street and upon realizing that it was empty, swiftly made his way over to a bench, sat down and promptly proceeded to rip open the wrapping paper. He stared down at the object in his hands for several minutes, then he looked up and stared into space for awhile longer, allowing a number of things to run through his mind.
Then having made up his mind, he rose from his seat, slipped the present into his pocket and began walking decisively to his new destination.
Tenten rounded the corner of her street - she lived on a short, side street in a run down apartment complex with her mother. Although it certainly wasn't the most prestigious neighbourhood, Tenten liked it well enough - she had grown up there and so she knew practically everyone in her apartment building and on her street and she felt that the people definitely made up for the dilapidated environment. As she neared the apartment complex, she noticed a figure standing in front of it. She squinted and realized with a jolt as she reached a few steps from the entrance just who it was.
"Neji, what are you doing here?"
Neji's expression was stolid as usual but there was something in his stance that suggested nervousness and uncertainty. "I opened the present."
Tenten suppressed a gasp, 'I hope he isn't upset with me now. I thought he'd be pleased.' "What did you think of it?" she asked uncertainly.
He looked down and she sensed his discomfort, "It's..." He struggled to find a word to describe what she had given him and unable to think of anything, he decided to change his tactic somewhat, "I came to say thank you. Properly. And to apologize for not giving you anything."
Tenten smiled reassuringly as relief washed over her, 'Well at least, he's not angry.' "That's okay, Neji. You didn't have to. I wanted you to have that - I thought that you'd want to have that."
Neji nodded, "I appreciate it. More than you know." It felt a little odd to him to be opening up to her like that but at the same time, it felt good, really saying what he felt.
Tenten's smile widened because she knew that words like that from Neji Hyuuga were rare, "You're welcome, Neji. I'm just glad you liked it."
He nodded, then made a movement as if to go. "Wait!" He turned back to her, an eyebrow raised in silent question. "Would you like to come in? We could have tea or something - my mother's at work."
She watched with bated breath as he considered her suggestion. Then to her immense surprise and glee, he consented, albeit reluctantly, "All right. But I cannot stay long."
"That's okay - I won't keep you!" She exclaimed enthusiastically as she opened the door and the long time, secret object of her affection entered her apartment building. It wasn't a date or anything but it was a start - he was noticing her and that's what mattered. 'Guess my plan worked after all.'