Title: Plea and a Prayer
Pairing: NejiTen
Note: Lime alert. A vague lime, but whatever.
Disclaimer: Naruto, not mine since 1999.


Their first time is not supposed to be in the middle of a war. Their first time is not supposed to taste like blood and steel and the threat of lost tomorrows. They're barely eighteen and it's too soon and not soon enough. Now isn't the time, but it's the only time. When (if) they make it home, he'll be buried under familial obligation, and she'll still be unworthy of that obligation.

She doesn't say she loves him, it's written in the red marks scored by her nails and the way she bites his lip when he thrusts into her hard enough to make her see stars. They mingle with the twinkling lights spinning overhead in the night sky, and the sound of her heart beating and his breath in her ear are louder than the roaring falls of the Valley of the End.

"I love you," he says as he paints the exposed canvas of her skin with his mouth. Over and over, he repeats it like a mantra between open-mouthed kisses, and she answers with the cry of his name and the tug of her fingers in his hair. Her simple, two syllable name has never sounded so hauntingly erotic as when it's exhaled through his lips as a plea and a prayer.

And when they reach the pinnacle, clinging to each other as they fall off the edge, her inhibitions finally fall away. Her "I love you" is a sob of quiet relief, incomparible to the way he worshipped her body with the words, but it's all he needs.

They lay languidly in the grass, legs and hands and hair tangled together like their lives. His callused thumb wipes away an unnoticed tear from her cheek as she rests her face against the pulse-point in his neck.

Tenten wonders how hate and war can possibly be more powerful than this.

The next day, when Neji's curse seal disappears forever, she knows.