hey there! I'm a little new to LiveJournal as well as this community so please bare with me.
well, anyways here's a oneshot that I wrote a few weeks ago. I hope that you guys will enjoy it. if not then I guess I have some work to do.
Title: Still I Smile
Disclaimer: not mine, ok?
I guess what I remembered most about that day were the flowers; the look and scent of them. How could you not smell the flowers? The place was practically an indoor Garden of Eden, flower decorations littering the entire hall. They were extremely beautiful to look at, lavish and timeless to the occasion. But from the look of the gold and silver trims, I knew how expensive they cost. Only a fraction of what the entire event must have cost the Hyuuga Clan, I suppose. Then again, it wasn’t every day that the only living male heir was getting married.
Neji’s wedding day. No matter how many times the phrase repeated itself in my head, I still couldn’t grasp the concept. As I looked at my once cold and emotionless teammate, I couldn’t help but shake my head at the impossibility of the idea, still unable to believe that he was getting married; and to Sakura Haruno of all people.
But there I was, standing in a secluded part behind the church where the ceremony was being held, a kunai knife held firmly in my hand. I was moving about in my bare feet, my shoes placed on a nearby rock so as not to ruin them. Neji had asked me to meet him there a few hours before the wedding was supposed to start so that we could train, of all things. Leave it to him to not let even his own wedding get in the way of becoming a strong shinobi.
“Training in a dress,” I mumbled to myself, ignoring the scraps of the gravel on the underside of my bare feet, “Only for you.”
“And I thank you for that,” the usually cold Hyuuga said. Sending an admiring glance my way, he added, “By the way you look nice.”
“And this is without the matching shoes,” I joked, eying the target we had made in a nearby tree.
The dress I wore was actually a gift from the blushing bride to be. Because, much to my dismay, she refused to have me come to her wedding wearing slacks. The details of the dress were foreign to me so don’t ask me what it looked like. All I remember is that it reminded me of the kind of clothing a fairy would wear, flowing and gossamer, delicate and stopping at the knee area; something I would never wear on any other occasion. The coloring was of a beige shade, I suppose. Someone had to be in white if the bride wasn’t, I guess. Of all the traditions to break, the Haruno girl had to choose to wear a pink dress to her wedding. The Hyuuga family must be banging their heads against the walls.
“You can keep your shoes on, you know,” he commented, watching me with mild interest as I balanced myself in a good sized rock so that my feet could rest from the offending gravel.
“You know I can’t move in those shoes,” I protested, glaring at the three inch heel of the shoes that Sakura made me wear, “I’m surprised I haven’t sprained an ankle yet walking in those things.”
“That’s Sakura,” Neji said with an amused smirk, as I maneuvered in my offending dress, “Anything for beauty.”
“Yeah, and apparently that includes money, too,” I unintentionally commented harshly, throwing the kunai effortlessly and getting the same result I always get, “How convenient that your family’s paying for it all.”
“Tenten,” Neji said sternly, signaling to me that I was about to cross a line I should, “Watch it.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean anything by it,” I said sincerely with a sigh as I pulled the kunai out of the wood, “You know I want nothing but the best for you, right?”
“Yeah, I know,” Neji mused with a hardly noticeable smile, “You’re always looking out for me.”
“I‘m your teammate, Neji,” I said thoughtfully, handing over the kunai to him, “Looking out for you is what I do.”
As I had expected, the comment earned me a small and genuine smile from my usually hardened and guarded teammate. Though I felt honored to be one of the few people to witness such a thing, I couldn’t ignore the pain in my heart as Neji too his position in front of the target. A frown started to form on my lips as I watched him prepare to throw the kunai knife, holding his jacket in my arms so that it would stay clean for the ceremony.
I’m losing him forever, I thought somberly as he smirked at his target.
His silk vest glistened in the sun as he pulled back his hand and threw the kunai. The sharp knife embedded itself into the soft bark with a well defined thud, close to the target but mediocre compared to my accuracy.
“That was a nice shot,” I said, plastering on my smile, “But I’m still better.”
“For now,” the proud Hyuuga added with a challenging look before going to retrieve the weapon.
“If it’s not too much trouble, Hyuuga,” Sasuke called from the church steps, “Your blushing bride wants to get this thing started.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Neji said nonchalantly as he suddenly turned to me, “I’ll be right there, Uchiha.”
“Well, this is it,” I stated softly, handing him his tux jacket before taking back my kunai knife.
“Yeah, I guess so.” Was that a hint of regret in his voice that I heard?
The two of us stood there in awkward silence as we just stared into each other’s eyes. I knew there was something that needed to be said, but I just couldn’t bring up the courage to do so. I guess he couldn’t either.
“She’s a good girl,” I said, unable to withstand the silence any longer, “I know the two of you will be very happy together.”
“Thanks,” Neji said, actually sounding sincere, “That means a lot coming from you.”
Unable to fight the impulse any longer, I wrapped my arms around him in a tight hug, secretly never wanting to let him go. There was a moment’s hesitation before I felt his own arms place themselves around my small form, the shock of the move finally subsiding. I unconsciously breathed in his scent, memorized every curve of his back; committing to memory anything and everything I could of him, suspecting that he was doing the same thing with me. And just like that, we were pulling away from each other.
“I’ll see you inside,” I said, forcing out one last smile before turning to join Sasuke at the church steps.
Taking a deep breath, I approached the last living heir to the Uchiha Clan, my heart racing a million miles a minute. It wasn’t until I was in the comforting arms of my closest friend and confidant that I was able to breathe normally again.
“You ok?” the outwardly cold-hearted shinobi asked me, knowing how hard this day was for me.
“Does it look like I’m ok?” I snapped unintentionally.
“…No,” he replied with a heavy sigh as he wiped away a stray tear that had managed to escape my eyes, “I just thought I’d ask any ways.”
“…I’m sorry,” I said with a heavy sigh of my own, “It’s not your fault.”
Over the years, I had managed to melt the cold heart of the last living Uchiha Clan member, much like I did with Neji. He had another side to him that no one really saw because he was too bent on exacting his revenge on Itachi for what he did to the Uchiha Clan.
Something about those emotionally deprived clan members, I mused in bitter sarcasm, They just can’t get enough of me.
“Come on,” Sasuke suggested, slinging a comforting arm round my shoulders, “Let’s go inside.”
I wordlessly followed as he took me into the church. Several of the guests were still milling about, too wrapped up in their own conversations to take notice that it was almost time for the ceremony to start.
“Are you sure you’re going to me ok?” Sasuke asked me for what seemed like the hundredth time, “You know you don’t have to be here if you don’t want to, right?”
“I’m fine,” I replied sternly, “Besides, Neji insisted that I be here.”
“I think he’d understand if he knew,” the dark-haired shinobi insisted.
“This is his wedding day, Sake,” I said more to convince myself, “I’m here to support him in whatever decision he makes.”
“I thought I told you to stop calling me that,” the Uchiha said, scrunching up his face at the thought of my nickname for him.
“Just because you told me to stop doesn’t mean that I’m going to,” I retorted playfully, “Besides, you know you love it.”
“Whatever,” he denied, smirking because he knew I was right.
“…Thanks,” I said softly with an appreciative smile. Then as an afterthought I added, “Sake.”
“No problem,” Sasuke said in response as our playfulness disappeared.
At Neji’s request, I sat at the head of the church at the end of the long isle; front row seats to possibly the worse day of my life. Sitting beside me was my other teammate, Rock Lee, holding my hand tightly as we gave each other our undying support.
“At least they‘re happy, right Tenten?” Rock Lee asked me.
“Yeah, happy” I mused to my green-clad teammate, “That‘s all we can ask for.”
Voices of other people drifted in and out of my ear as I just sat there, lost in my own thoughts. I was pulled from my world of ponderings when I felt Sasuke’s hand clasp and squeeze my shoulder on his way to the alter to take his place beside Neji as his best man. Yes, things had changed that much over the long years.
All of a sudden, the room went perfectly silent as the music began to play, the way it should be I suppose. I looked up from my seat at the alter to see the expecting groom calmly watching the wedding party walk down the isle. Neji was solid and unmoving as the bride’s maids all marched down the isle, escorted by their respective groomsmen. Ino stood at the alter as well, Sakura’s appointed Maid of Honor waiting for her best friend to emerge through the double doors at the back of the church.
Then the wedding march started to play and there was Sakura as she cascaded out of the door, her father right by her side. All eyes were directed back on the beautiful bride in her graceful walk…except for her future husband. He was too busy staring at me. His pale orbs never left mine as Sakura made her slow trek down the isle.
With a forced yet realistic looking smile, I nodded at him in reassurance, thinking that was what he wanted from me. But his gaze never left me even when Sakura had reached the alter. His attention didn’t leave me until the pink-haired kunoichi held out her hand for him to take. Abruptly, he took Sakura’s hand and finally turned his attention to the minister standing before them.
“Dearly beloved,” the minister started, like any other wedding.
The rest of the traditional wedding announcements and what not were lost to me as I drifted back into my own little world. There wasn’t much point in watching or paying attention to the ceremony. I was only there to support Neji. Now that the wedding had started, there was no reason for me to acknowledge that anything was even happening.
“If there is anyone here that thinks these two should not be wed, let them speak now or forever hold their truth,” came the minister’s soft voice.
The entire church was quiet as the pastor waited to see if anyone would come forth to speak against the union. Everyone looked around, glancing at each other as if they expecting someone to disapprove of the happy couple. The only ones I could think about who would ever stop the ceremony now were the Hyuuga Clan themselves and they were the ones who had arranged for the wedding in the first place. Even Rock Lee who had faithfully loved Sakura Haruno since the first moment he had met her was keeping his mouth shut.
Directing my eyes up to the alter once again, I watched Neji sweep around the church in the chance that someone would disapprove before returning his gaze back to the pink-haired medic-nin. But instead of the relief that should had been in his eyes there was something else in it’s place I couldn’t understand.
“If there is no one who disapproves then let us continue,” the pastor said after what seemed like hours.
“Wait!” came a familiar call.
To everyone’s utter astonishment, we had all turned towards the one who had called out: Neji Hyuuga himself. A gasp of shock could be heard throughout the church as he whispered something into Sakura’s ear, waiting for her nod of approval before stepping down from the alter. All eyes were on the Hyuuga male from the Branch House as he surprisingly walked up to me and held out his hand. I stared at him in confusion as my gaze traveled from his emotionless face to his extended hand.
“Come with me,” he stated, more as a request than an order.
My eyes cautiously swept over the church before settling back in the stone faced shinobi that stood before me. With much hesitation, I placed my hand within his as he proceeded to pull me down the isle to the back of the church. Through the double doors he took me, stopping in the foyer as the eyes of everyone else were closed off from us with a simple click.
“What are you doing, Neji?” I demanded of him as I wretched my hand away.
As expected, the proud Hyuuga refused to say anything, choosing to just keep his back to me as he was lost in his own thoughts. I couldn’t deny the fact that I felt a bit of relief when he had called out like that. But this was so unlike him. Neji Hyuuga wasn’t one to jump head-long into something without great consideration. So why was he having doubts about his marriage to Sakura? He had asked and she had accepted.
“Neji?” I called softly, trying to reach the silent shinobi standing before me.
To say that he was starting to scare me would have been an understatement. The way Neji was acting was completely freaking me out.
“Neji?” I called again, with more force.
He turned around with such speed that I didn’t realize what he was doing until it was half over. He was kissing me, just like that, while his bride to be and a room full of witnesses were waiting for his return. I knew and understood how wrong this situation was, but I couldn’t help but enjoy the contact. And just as quickly as it had happened, it was over. Unable to control myself, my hand flew up to smack his face before I had time to stop it. The painful slap resounded loudly inside the foyer, echoing beautifully with the church acoustics.
“I deserved that,” he mumbled softly, “I just wanted to make sure.”
With that said, he turned to walk back into the church where I was sure everyone would be waiting curiously to find out what had prompted Neji to interrupt his own wedding. But I couldn’t just leave it like that, not after all that had happened and with all that stood between us.
“Make sure what?” I asked sternly just as he was reaching to open the door.
"…If I was making the right choice,” he whispered hesitantly in reply.
We stood there in silence like that for what seemed like forever. I looked on as the once proud Hyuuga remained standing there with his head bowed and hand still hovering next to the double doors. Finally, unable to do much else, I quickly approached the would be groom. I could see the slight twitch in his form as I stood before him, most likely believing that I would strike him again.
Instead, I stroked the cheek that I had smacked not ten minutes ago in such a loving way. Confused with my actions, Neji lifted his head to look at me with such perplexity. I merely smiled at him, unable to explain in any other way. With that, I grabbed his hand and proceeded to drag him out of the church without a word.
“What are you doing?” he inquired as he followed me outside.
“Getting you out of here,” I replied as we approached my motorbike, “What does it look like I’m doing?”
Popping up the seat, I pulled out two helmets, handing one to Neji. Taking a brief moment to study the blue flames on the piece of safety equipment and the matching ones on my mode of transportation, I secured it on my head before turning my attention back to Neji. Rather than putting on his helmet as well, the Hyuuga prodigy was too busy glancing between my radical blue-flamed bike and me, lifting a brow at me with scrutiny.
“What?” I stated, as I straddled the seat of the vehicle, “Just because I’m wearing a dress doesn’t mean I couldn’t still ride my bike.”
Shaking his head in amusement, Neji strapped on his helmet and seated himself behind me, wrapping his arms around me without a second thought as I started the engine. Soon we were off, unable to wait any longer for fear that the others would find us and stop us.
=== Back Inside the Church ===
The sound of an engine revved several times before disappearing in the distance. Gasps of shock and murmurs of concern could be heard throughout the church as all eyes turned with pity to the bride left standing at the alter. But those gathered around her didn’t see the tears she should had been shedding. They only found her smiling as if knowing a secret truth that no one else knew.
“Are you alright?” Sasuke asked his pink-haired teammate, still standing in his place as the best man.
“I’m fine,” Sakura said blissfully.
“But Neji just left you at the alter,” the Uchiha pointed out to the seemingly unfazed kunoichi.
“I know,” the girl said with a knowing smile, “But if I had to lose him, I’m glad it was to her.”
With a level of understanding, the normally cold and brooding Sasuke couldn’t help but smile himself as he turned to leave the bride to deal with her loss in whatever way she deemed fit.
Way to go Tenten, the Uchiha heir praised as an afterthought.
As we roared down the street to some unknown destination, Neji tightened his grip on me; not because he was afraid of falling off the bike, but because he never wanted to let me go. And as the wind blew past us carrying with it the scent of springtime, I smiled. And still I smile today…because I’m with the one I love.