CHAPTER 3

Neji couldn't be happier when he was discharged from the hospital later that day while Hinata and Naruto waited with him. While he would hate to sound ungrateful for all the visitors and tears that were shed for him (mostly from Lee), he simply couldn't get the words Tenten had last spoken to him out of his head.

The future she had mentioned… a future that included him in it. She may have called him dense, but if he was not mistaken, her implications were fairly clear: she imagined their future, the two of them together.

While he rarely thought about his life in that way, a near-death experience certainly had its way of bringing certain aspects of his future into perspective. Just remembering Tenten at his hospital bedside, something within him clicked. With all the years they had spent together, it truly felt like Tenten was an extension of himself. Maybe he never imagined something as detailed as who he'd end up marrying, but when he would imagine his future, Tenten would always still be there by his side. They weren't just friends, they were each other's most trusted companion. There was certainly nobody else he had trusted with the knowledge of his blind-spot, even if it he had convinced himself at the time it was just for training purposes. Neji smiled at the thought of having someone to share that personal bit of information with. They've been mutually supporting each other ever since he can remember. Without her, his future felt incomplete.

"Whatcha thinking about there, Neji, huh?" Naruto asked him as he noticed Neji smile deep in thought. Despite the fact that Neji had tried to refuse, Naruto insisted accompanying Hinata in walking him home. Neji assumed he probably had more important matters to attend to considering he was being regarded as a hero, yet again. Ultimately though, he agreed for Hinata's sake.

"Just glad to be back in the village, I suppose," Neji responded as his face turned faintly sheepish. Sure, he might have been thinking about Tenten in reality, but his answer wasn't a complete lie. The war was finally over. While he was sure missions would still arise, he wondered what the world would look like now at peace.

"Well, we're all glad you're still here with us! You can't scare us like that again, ya got that?" Naruto turned to grin at the man who risked his life for him and Hinata just a short few days ago.

A block before they reached the Hyuga compound, Hinata excused herself, "I'll go on ahead inside and tell my father and the others that you're back. Everyone will be so happy to see you!" With that, Hinata rushed off to make sure everyone would greet and welcome Neji back with the praise he deserved. Before Neji could protest, she was gone.

As soon as Hinata was out of earshot, Naruto suddenly leaned in closer to Neji's ear. Holding one hand covering half his mouth, he spoke in a loud whisper, "Ya know, even though we all visited you in the hospital while you were out, I noticed one of your teammates partic-ularly worried in making sure you were never alone… and it wasn't Leeee." Naruto giggled in a way that would have made anyone doubt the fact that he was the man who just saved the world.

If it weren't Neji he had been speaking too, Naruto would have sworn he saw him lose all calm and composure, even it were for just a second. Naruto didn't think much of it. Honestly Neji was just one of his favorite people to tease and he wanted to keep their conversation light—anything other than the war.

Caught slightly off guard, Neji snapped almost a little too quickly, "What? Don't be ridiculous!"

Naruto laughed at his close friend's response. He put his hands up in defense and grinned, "Yeesh. Alright, alright. I just think there's something there, that's all. Anyway, I should head off and let you reunite with all your family. I'll be seeing you, Neji! Thanks again for everything!" As Naruto turned and raised his hand high waving him goodbye, Neji looked down and shook his head with a faint smile. That idiot.

As Hinata started to come outside again with a few others of their clan, Neji dwelled on Naruto's words. When the next opportunity arose, he knew he had to seek out Tenten to, at the very least, thank her again for being by him at the hospital.

xXx

That next morning came and while he was determined to find Tenten, he couldn't help but feel a slight tinge of nervousness. Maybe he was overthinking it? After all, Lee was fairly emotional after seeing him up and healthy again, as well, but Neji certainly didn't plan on thanking him again.

Regardless, he had to see Tenten in order to confirm for himself the meaning behind her words. No matter how she truly felt though, he also wanted to make it clear that she was indeed someone special to him.

As he made his way to their usual training grounds, he thought back again to the promise Tenten asked him to keep before the war had started. Come to think of it, another person in a green body suit? Maybe the words Tenten had spoken were more of a threat. Upon finding her, he tried to shudder off the image that came to mind of Tenten in the outfit that would match their Sensei's, but to no avail.

"You know, Tenten, it seems you won't be wearing a green body suit any time soon. I kept my word in staying alive." Neji greeted as he walked up behind her.

Tenten turned around to face him, smiling.

"I mean I don't know, I think I could have come to terms with it eventually and totally rocked it. Continued the green revolution with Guy and Lee." As Neji made his way closer to her, Tenten gradually brought her gaze up from Neji's broad chest towards his familiar and kind pale eyes.

Neji narrowed his eyes and furrowed his eyebrows but quickly broke out into a sly smile, "I intend to be by your side to make sure that does not happen. Well, if you'll allow me, of course."

The tension between them was growing to be immeasurable as their voices gradually become only but a whisper.

"If I… allow you?" Tenten questioned with her eyes wide as they came to be only a few inches apart. By her side?

It was Neji's turn to break the silence again.

"I want to properly thank you, Tenten. Not just for being by my side at the hospital and throughout all these years, but for being someone special to me."

He put his hands on her shoulders with his fingers delicately placed at the nape of her neck, pulled her closer and gently kissed her on the forehead. The two of them remained embraced, with Tenten's head buried beneath Neji's.

As he started to pull away so that Tenten could give her response, she grabbed the front of his shirt, looked directly into his eyes and softly spoke the words Neji longed to hear, "Guess you're not so dense, after all," before bringing him closer and closing the gap between their lips.


A/N: Hey everyone, here is the last chapter! I did some small edits to the first two chapters as well. Hope you've enjoyed my first NejiTen fic (and first fic in years). I'd greatly appreciate any reviews :)

Also added Naruto in there as a wingman because he wants to return the favor. Plus it's a little callback for when Naruto asked Shikamaru and Temari if they were on a date back in the beginning of Shippuden.

Also *Spoiler alert* for anyone who hasn't finished watching/reading Naruto yet (be warned)

I wanted to write this fic because I still haven't gotten over the fact that Neji doesn't survive the war. I mean come onnnnnn. Imagine adult Neji as a proud uncle when Himawari awakens her Byakugan. Seeing the episode where Hinata marries Naruto is so sad because you KNOW Neji would be so happy... we only get to see Hanabi holding his picture :(

I'm just going to live in world where Neji is still alive and gets all the happiness he deserves (with Tenten obviously) :)