|How to Bake a Cake
Author: Kaeru Soyokaze PM
Lee wants to bake a cake for Sakura on White Day! Too bad Neji and Tenten are forced to help him...and why is everyone ELSE there? Nejiten, NaruHina, and more...Rated: Fiction T - English - Humor/Romance - Words: 5,241 - Reviews: 160 - Favs: 192 - Follows: 27 - Published: 04-25-05 - id: 2367600
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Just remember: you brought this upon yourselves.
Pairings: Mainly NejiTen and NaruHina, but a bit of ShikaIno, ShikaTema, ChouIno, and SasuSaku.
Inspiration for this? Absolutely none. I have NO idea where I came up with this.
But this is for everyone in the Nejiten community! You guys rock! And for Kaie-san, for the crack Gai pairing.
If I owned Naruto, Kimimaro would be in the circus.
Rock Lee gave his teammate a very affronted glare. "I want to bake Sakura-san a cake," he repeated, as Tenten listened patiently (or pretended to). "For White Day. To show my devotion!"
His fist clenched and the kunoichi quickly cleared her throat to avoid being subjected to an hour-long speech on every single wonderful attribute of Haruno Sakura.
"Uh, Lee…you DID know that the traditional present for White Day is chocolate, right?"
"I got her chocolate too!" Clearly, he had thought of everything. "And it's in a box tied with a WHITE ribbon!"
Tenten arched a brow and went back to tugging her shuriken out of the practice dummy. "What's so great about a white ribbon?"
"Ino-san told me that giving a girl a white ribbon symbolizes true love!"
Tug. Tug. Great. Now people were giving him love advice, with no regard for his poor teammates. "Well, I'm glad you're all prepared for tomorrow, but why are you telling me this?"
Sudden silence greeted her. Tenten slowly turned and was met with Lee's abashed face. "…LEE," she said sternly.
"I don't know how to bake a cake!" He blurted out. "Will you and Neji help me?"
YANK. "No. No! Absolutely NOT! And if you think NEJI'S going to say, 'Why, sure, Lee, let me just get my oven mitts on!', you're INSANE."
Lee lunged suddenly and seized both of her hands in his. "PLEASE, Tenten! For the sake of the love that Sakura-san and I share, use your pent-up youth to help make this cake!"
Tenten pinned him with a dangerous glare--nowhere near as intimidating as Neji's could be, but still pretty damned scary. "If you don't let go of me RIGHT NOW, I'll be using all that pent-up youth to make you into a very nice pincushion!"
The boy was undeterred. "You and Neji HAVE to help! It's teamwork!"
"Neither of us has to do anything."
Tenten and Lee both swiveled to see the third member of their team walking towards them.
Hyuuga Neji stared at them, face perfectly unreadable, as always. Sort of like a chalkboard. His eyes lingered on Tenten's hands trapped in Lee's longer than usual before narrowing slightly.
The thick-browed boy's grip loosened and Tenten quickly pulled free. "Lee wants us to help him bake a cake for White Day." She knew his answer before his mouth even opened.
Lee wasn't ready to give up just yet. "But with the three of us, it'll be--"
"Neji, as your rival--"
"My team!" Maito Gai made his timely appearance in a whirl of smoke and sparkling teeth. "What troubles you?"
"Gai-sensei!" Lee cried passionately. "As it will be White Day tomorrow, I have decided to bake a cake for Sakura-san! However, I have never baked a cake before and I request my teammates' help so Sakura-san can receive my love tomorrow!"
"That's the last time I bake him anything for his birthday," Tenten muttered, plunging the shuriken back into the poor, abused dummy. And no, the dummy was not Lee.
Gai looked pensive (a bad sign), then perked up. "This is for an expression of youth!"
"Never fear, Lee! Youth shall triumph! Neji, Tenten, this shall be a mission for you both! You will assist Lee with his cake and whoever fails will run six hundred laps!"
That was OVERKILL, and they all knew it. Lee blanched as his teammates glared venomously at him. "T-thank you, Gai-sensei!"
"YOOOOSH! The spirit of youth will make this work! Kakashi, marvel at the bond my wonderful team shares!"
As the waterworks, embracing, and shouting to invisible rivals began, Neji and Tenten exchanged resigned glances and sighed.
One eye twitched. "It's got lace."
"That's because it's my mom's! It was either this or the pink one." She continued holding out the apron and Neji continued to stare at it as if it were diseased.
"YOOOOOOOSH!" Lee warbled, prancing about his kitchen in a green (what else?) apron. "Let our youthful teamwork take hold!"
At that moment, "youthful teamwork" was nonexistent between his teammates.
"Do you WANT batter all over you?" The weapons mistress demanded.
"Then put on the goddamned apron."
"There's lace on it."
"Oh, for...! Neji, NO ONE IS GOING TO SEE YOU! What are you so worried about!"
"You'll see me." The words spilled out before he could stop himself and he quickly averted his gaze, horrified at the momentary lapse of control.
Tenten, completely caught offguard by that statement, turned pale pink. Then she sighed, snatched a kunai from her pouch and sliced off the lace on the hem and sleeves of the white apron. "Better?" She grumbled.
Neji took the apron.
Not wanting to leave Lee alone with potentially-fatal cooking utensils, Tenten headed off to help. Until...
"Your apron is untied."
"Huh?" She turned her head and saw with chagrin that her aprong strings had loosened and come undone. Again. "...I was never too good at tying behind my back." This was true. She had commendable dexterity when handling weapons, but her tying skills with aprons was sadly lacking.
"Here." In a single movement, Neji was right behind her, so close that his breath tickled the little hairs at the back of her neck. Working silently, he tied her errant apron strings into a neat bow and brushed past her to check on Lee.
"...Thanks," the kunoichi said to his retreating back. His shoulders rose and fell in acknowledgement.
Checking on Lee turned out to be a good idea. The boy's cheeks were already smudged with flour and he was sneering at the recipe with high disdain.
"Two cups of sugar are not enough to express my love! I'll use the whole jar!"
"Idiot, stop that!" Tenten's palm harshly collided with his head. "Use that much sugar and you'll kill her!"
"But--" Lee protested, clutching his head.
"I am NOT running six hundred laps because YOU want to make Sakura diabetic!" She snatched the recipe from him. "I'LL measure, YOU get the ingredients and Neji can mix it all together."
Such was her absolute authority that neither boy objected to her taking charge (although Neji smirked to himself and convinced himself that he was just humoring her).
Tenten was in the midst of berating Lee for kissing every single ingredient and utensil ("So my love goes into every inch of this cake!") when Neji heard a sound. Cautiously activating his Byakugan, he looked at the door, then tapped Tenten on the shoulder with the stirring spoon.
"Company," was his only explanation, and the puzzled girl went to check. She returned, followed by none other than Uzumaki Naruto…and Ino, Shikamaru, Chouji, Hinata, Kiba, and Shino.
"I want to make sure that Lee-san makes such a good cake that Sakura will fall for him and leave Sasuke-kun alone!" Ino boldly stated, before anyone else could speak.
"And she dragged us into it," Shikamaru added sourly, indicating himself and the disinterested Chouji. "Troublesome female."
The blonde opened her mouth to (no doubt) scream at him, but Naruto jumped in.
"I'm going to make Sakura-chan a cake too! And Hinata said she'll help me!"
Neji looked over at his shy cousin, who was bright pink and poking her fingertips together with enough force to break them. It seemed Naruto was the only one blithely unaware of Hinata's massive crush on him. He almost pitied her. After all, HE had no such problems with love…or DID he? His keen gaze shifted to rest on Tenten, observing her absentmindedly put her hand to her forehead-- a sure sign that she was developing a headache.
The kunoichi glanced up and the prodigy quickly looked away, feeling his face heat up by the smallest amount. He didn't feel like explaining why he'd been staring at her. After all, he was Hyuuga Neji and he didn't offer explanations--except for "It was determined by fate", but even HE didn't buy that anymore.
He contented himself with the knowledge that he, at least, didn't play with his fingers or stutter.
Tenten blinked, wondering if it had been her imagination or if Neji really HAD been gazing at her with the concentration of a serial killer. Oh, well. "And you're baking a cake here…WHY?" She asked Naruto.
He grinned lopsidedly. "So I can make sure that my cake's better than Fuzzy-Brows'! It'll be great, right, Hinata?"
Upon being addressed by her hero, the Hyuuga heir gave a little jump and stared at the ground. Lee had spilled three grains of rice recently. She decided to give them names. Betty, Joe, and--oh! She had to reply! "R-right," she stammered, jerking her head up.
Kiba stepped in front of his bashful teammate, eyes gleaming challengingly. "Shino and I are here…because we want to be!"
Shino's eye-roll went unseen beneath his dark glasses. Actually, we came because he wanted to make sure Naruto didn't doanything to Hinata…
Figuring that she wouldn't be able to talk any of them out of it, Tenten got to relegating cake duties. Soon, Naruto was haphazardly tossing sugar and butter into a bowl while Hinata and Shino made sure all measurements were exact and Kiba…stood watch with Akamaru.
With Lee's cake, Shikamaru kept fiddling with the oven settings, Neji was stirring the batter methodically and Chouji kept trying to sample it with his finger when he thought the genius wasn't looking. Ino was flitting about, slapping the chubby boy's hand away from the bowl, barking orders at Shikamaru and telling Lee the best flowers to send with the cake and chocolate.
As for the frenzied Tenten, she was doing her best to curb Lee's and Naruto's dangerous enthusiasm, calm down Neji when Ino loudly criticized his stirring skills, keep Kiba from causing bodily damage to Naruto when he slung his arm around Hinata for catching the bowl when he accidentally knocked it over (which caused her to become so flustered that the bowl almost hit the floor anyway)…and just generally make sure order was kept.
Too bad that such a task was nearly impossible, even for her.
It all started with Naruto. Unbeknownst to all but him, he decided to sabotage Lee's cake. He dashed over, snatched the bowl from right under Neji's nose (to the prodigy's complete shock), and raised it high above his head.
Lee was quick to grab onto it. "Naruto-kun! What are you doing to Sakura-san's cake?"
"Destroying it! I'm the one who's gonna give Sakura-chan her cake!" Naruto didn't relinquish his hold on the bowl.
Neither did Lee. "It was MY idea!"
Their squabbling was attracting attention now.
"Hey, you two..." Ino propped her hands on her hips, looking peeved. "If you keep fighting like that, that bowl's going to land on some--"
The boys' grips slipped at the same time; results were chaotic and instantaneous. Shikamaru hauled Ino out of the way of the soaring projectile, Kiba grabbed Hinata and dove under the table with Chouji, Shino just shook his head, and Nej and Tenten tried to shove each other out to safety simultaneous. Unfortunately, the bowl didn't believe in rewarding selfless behavior, for...
The bowl upended...and landed on Neji's head.
"...one," finished Ino weakly, into the horrified silence that followed.
Naruto and Lee gaped as pink batter dripped down the Hyuuga's face. Neji's eyes were hidden beneath the rim of the bowl, but you'd have to be a completely dense idiot not to notice the death aura that he was emanating. Blood would be shed.
Tenten cautiously approached him, removing the bowl and swiping a bit of batter off his face as she did so. "Um, Neji...are you all right?"
Stupid question. Neji was far from "all right". No, he was more like "so livid that Orochimaru felt his fury from his little hideout and wept like a little girl". Heedless of the pink stuff still plastered on his pale face, he activated his Byakugan.
"I'm going to kill you." This simple comment was directed not towards Tenten, but to the two Shinobi hugging each other in mutual terror.
"He stole my cake!" Lee squeaked defensively. "Youthful justice had to prevail!"
"The ends don't always justify the means," Shino remarked, out of the blue. The high collar of his jacket allowed him to smirk privately.
Neji moved purposefully toward Lee and Naruto, both automatically quailing as he slowly and unerringly approached.
"I-I'll go get a towel!" Hinata squeaked, emerging from her refuge under the table and taking off.
"I'll go with you!" Ino was quick on her heels.
Wisely figuring that any attempt to stop her teammate from achieving righteous vengeance would be futile, Tenten licked her batter-covered finger. Hmm...strawberry. She very quietly began assembling ingredients for another cake. She did NOT want to run six hundred laps and somehow didn't think that "Neji snapped and went on a killing spree while Lee lay bleeding on the floor because he dumped a bowl of batter on his head and now Neji's going to smell like Strawberry Shortcake for a long time" would be a good excuse for Gai.
Maybe if she threw in some random "youth"s.
"I can't die until I finish Sakura-san's cake!" Lee wailed, scrambling to get to safety--far, far away from the silent horror that was Hyuuga Neji. Tenten half-expected the prodigy's head to start swiveling 180 degrees like an Exorcist-wannabe.
"I can't die, PERIOD!" Naruto was in such a hurry to escape that his eyes were constantly darting over his shoulder--instead of looking in front of him. Such neglect of attention was bound to pay off--and it did. With a vengeance.
"O-oh!" Hinata went windmilling backwards and Naruto automatically wrapped his arms around her to soften the impact.
"If I only had a camera," Ino remarked slyly, peering down at the fallen Hyuuga, who was flat on her back with Naruto lying on top of her. Both were blushing furiously.
"S-sorry, Hinata!" The blond raised himself off of her. "That was a good catch, though--you smell good!"
Well, if Hinata had been pink before, her face was fire-hydrant red now. "Um…"
"Kindly step away from Hinata-sama." Neji hadn't emerged from homicidal maniac mode as he let an unconscious Lee drop. And now he was even more pissed.
"What were you doing to Hinata?" Kiba howled (no pun intended) as Akamaru started barking. "Get back here, Naruto!"
"When Akamaru flies!"
"Hey, it was all an accident, I swear!"
Ino gestured imperiously to Shikamaru and Chouji. "Hey, back to work! Even if he's bleeding on the carpet, Lee-san's cake WILL be finished!"
There's determination for you, Tenten thought.
Two Hours Later…
Chouji had eaten the next cake they'd produced, and Kiba and Akamaru had accidentally plowed through the one after that. Tenten had eventually lost her already-frayed temper and pinned all three to the wall with several kunais--her form of a Time-Out.
Once Neji had finished beating the crap out of Naruto, Shikamaru, Ino, and Hinata had taken him and Lee down to the hospital…leaving Neji, Shino, and Tenten to tackle the two cakes.
And now the latter lay fast asleep on Lee's couch, one arm flung across her chest. Shino observed her bemusedly as he added the final touches on Naruto's cake with a tube of white icing. He hadn't thought baking would have so exhausting for the kunoichi. But then again, she HAD been involved in all of the "festivities" and that was enough to wear out anyone.
Neji had cleared every trace of batter from his perfect hair and now stood over his slumbering teammate. From behind the shelter of his shades, Shino scrutinized him and noticed that the Hyuuga's pearly eyes had actually softened.
"It's getting dark," he spoke up, and Neji glanced at him impassively. "We're done here, aren't we?"
"…Hn." The prodigy manages to lift and situate Tenten on his back without waking her. With the tiniest of nods to Shino, he departed. But he didn't get far.
From outside, Shino heard a thud and loud yelling, courtesy of one irate weapons master. "What the hell did you drop me for!"
"You can walk. Now put away the kunai."
With a very small smile and paying no heed to Kiba's loud yelps of "Lemme down! Lemme down!", Shino continued to ice the cake.
"Happy White Day…"
He paused…then the rare smile broadened. He knew what to do.
Next Day, March 14th…
"If you keep stuffing your face like that, you're going to make yourself sick." Tenten folded her arms across her chest, shaking her head at the pitiful sight that was her disconsolate teammate. "Apparently, Neji screwing with your chakra didn't teach you anything. Are you a masochist or something?"
Lee's reply was garbled through a mouthful of pink crumbs and white icing. Earlier, Gai had taken Tenten and Neji aside and told them that Sakura had paid Lee a visit in the hospital and he had given her the chocolate…but, as he'd summoned the courage to present her with his precious cake…Uchiha Sasuke had walked in and TAKEN SAKURA'S HAND, much to the shock of…well, everyone watching. Blushing furiously, the kunoichi had sincerely thanked Lee for the chocolate and left with the dark-haired heartthrob. Naruto, two beds over, had remained quiet, as did his only company: Hinata.
Tenten switched tactics. Lee's enthusiasm was perturbing, but a depressed, sullen, frenzied-cake-devouring Lee was downright terrifying. "Come on, Lee, snap out of it! Where's that power of youth you're always preaching about? At least she ACCEPTED your chocolate, right? So there's still hope!" She briefly kicked herself for actually ENCOURAGING him to continue his infatuation with the pink-haired Shinobi…oh, well, this would be her good deed for the day. "Fight on, Lee! And STOP EATING!"
"Tenten…" He lowered the cake and regarded her with something like awe. "You…"
She braced herself.
"You're right! I can't give up now! It's the springtime of youth!" He caught the brunette up in an exuberant hug and squeezed until Tenten gasped out that he was cracking her ribs.
Lee apologized and the kunoichi waved it off, excusing herself with one hand gingerly resting over her now-sore ribs. She needed to get away before he started crying again.
Looking at the curtains that surrounded Lee's bed and cut him off from view, Hinata glanced down at Naruto. He still seemed rather…despondent, which was never a good sign. She took a deep breath and nervously took the first step in breaking the silence.
"N-Naruto-kun, a-are you…?"
Sasuke-bastard's never held her hand before… The boy, startled out of his own thoughts, blinked up at the pale heir. Her hands were folded neatly in her lap so she couldn't toy with her fingers and her cloudy eyes were fixed on his own cerulean ones. "Huh?"
"I'm s-s-sorry…a-about Sakura-san…" Hinata stammered. "Y-you worked so…so h-hard on that cake…"
Naruto's face saddened and he didn't speak.
Almost reluctantly, he looked at her once again--and his heart suddenly gave an unexpected leap. Hinata was looking very determined, chin lifted with a sort of quiet dignity, and she looked…different. Her speech was slow and precise, but she didn't stutter once.
"You've never given up. Not when you took the written exam…not when you fought Neji-nii-san…so why is now any different? It's White Day, Naruto-kun! You…you have to let your feelings be known!" Granted, SHE hadn't actually done that on Valentines Day--she'd just left her anonymous bag of chocolate on Naruto's doorstep--but he was far braver than she was. He'd pull through.
Speaking of Naruto…he was currently looking stunned. He had honestly never expected that from his gentle companion.
Naruto bolted upright, just as Hinata cried, "Shino-kun!" Her teammate had shown up rather suddenly with no sound whatsoever (as he was wont to do) and pressed a cake box into the blond's hands.
"I brought your cake," Shino explained matter-of-factly. "The icing tube is also in the box, should you feel like adding something."
The boy lifted the flap and looked inside. A funny expression crossed his face as he stared intently at the contents before that trademark grin returned, full-force. "You did a good job, but lemme put something in!" He fished for the tube and began avidly scrawling…something. Not wanting to be impolite, Hinata averted her eyes. It wasn't any of her business, anyway.
"Hey, Shino!" He beckoned the other boy over. "Do you think she'll like it?"
A small smile flickered briefly. "I believe she will."
Hinata swallowed against the budding lump in her throat. It had hurt to encourage the one she loved to pursue another, but she had done it for Naruto's happiness, and that was all that mattered.
Or so she kept telling herself as she fought back tears. With a low mumble of "E-excuse me!" and a bow in the direction of the two males, she fled the room.
Dimly, she heard the door open and slam shut and running footsteps before she even reached the end of the hall. Shino-kun, she thought dully, and sped up.
She froze. The one chasing after her…the one calling her name…the one who had a firm grip on her wrist and was looking at her earnestly…wasn't Shino. Unless he'd dyed his hair blonde.
"Why'd you run out?" Naruto seemed genuinely baffled. "You looked like you were gonna cry or something…"
Hinata lowered her head and muttered something indecipherable. Why had he followed her?
The boy blinked. "Um…anyway…here!" He thrust a box into her arms, grinning widely as if proud of some unknown accomplishment. When Hinata gave him a questioning glance, he gestured for her to open it…which she did.
There was the cake that'd been the cause of so many problems, garnished with fluffy red icing and written on in white.
"Happy White Day, Hinata."
Below the delicate writing, one more word was written messily beside a VERY lopsided shape--was it a heart?
Hinata was rendered speechless as she stared down at the writing in a daze. But the cake was supposed to be for Sakura! Why was HER name on it?
Misconstruing her stunned lack of words for a more negative emotion, Naruto hastened to explain.
"Well, Sakura-chan really loves that bastard, so I'll let them be…for today. And you…you helped me a lot, Hinata. Even though you had better things to do, you helped me bake the cake and you encouraged me. And…" He hesitated. "…Shino left a note in the box, so I know who left that chocolate on Valentines Day."
Hinata was torn between blushing, smiling, or plotting evil ways to make Shino pay. But she was too nice for that, so she opted for the first.
"You should've told me!" He interrupted. "That was the ONLY chocolate I got and I couldn't figure out who sent it! So…you're the person who deserves this cake the most! Happy White Day, Hinata!"
He was giving her the cake. He had given something to her on White Day. He could've patted her on the head as a present and Hinata would have died of happiness. Almost mechanically, she set the cake down with the utmost care, and then looked at the blond.
Damn, this was hard. "C-c-can I…can I…hug you?"
No one could ever accuse Hyuuga Hinata of not being brave.
Naruto's eyes widened and her blush achieved brighter colors. Then he smiled, walked forward, and caught her in his arms. "You know," he commented quietly, resting his chin on her head and inhaling deeply, "you really DO smell nice."
Hinata was in heaven.
"Who's the chocolate for?" Ino kept tugging on the poor boy's arm as he awkwardly kept a bag of the sweets by his side. "Shikamaru, spill!"
Temari rested a hand on her hip and smirked. "Obviously, it's for me."
Ino released Shikamaru's arm, much to his relief, and GLARED. Plants wilted. Birds dropped out of the sky. Temari remained unfazed.
"He's MY teammate!" The blonde shrieked. "We've known each other longer, so that chocolate is most definitely for ME!"
"Oh, go get a tan."
"Go cut your hair! You look like a voodoo doll!"
"Oi," Shikamaru intervened…before they disemboweled each other. "It's for both of you." He pulled a second bag from his pocket and handed one to each girl. "Happy White Day." He then made his getaway at an unusually fast gait, muttering "How troublesome" under his breath.
Temari looked at her chocolate. Ino looked at HER chocolate. Then…
"He still likes me more."
"Dream on, you--"
"Happy White Day, Ino."
Surprised, she turned and saw Chouji solemnly presenting her with a crinkled bag containing a single chip at the bottom.
"I was going to give you the whole bag, but I got hungry on the way here. So I saved the last chip for you…because it's the best."
Ino was incredibly touched. For Chouji to refrain from eating the revered final chip, in order to give it to her…it spoke volumes. So she squealed and threw her arms around him while Temari looked on in bemusement. "Thank you, Chouji!"
As Sasuke and Sakura strolled by, the latter smiled. "It's sweet, ne, Sasuke-kun?"
He favored her with a noncommittal grunt. He was just relieved that Ino hadn't come running over to demand chocolate from him. He'd seen Shikamaru shoot past and, genius that he was, had instantly known why. Besides, he'd only gotten chocolates for Sakura, her being his teammate and all. He hadn't blushed or anything either, just smirked and handed her the bag. He was just that awesome.
"Let's go, Sakura."
She glanced up at him, noticing that his onyx eyes weren't as cold and hard as they usually were. That brought a radiant smile to her face. "Yeah!"
Neji watched as everyone gradually filtered away, leaving him blissfully alone. For about two minutes, anyway.
"Lee's back to normal." Tenten had shown up with nary a sound, but he had known she was there. Like Uchiha, he was just that awesome.
"…" He wasn't sure he WANTED Lee back to normal. Normal for Lee meant the noisy advocating of Gai and squirrels' rights, the being subjected to his list of things he loved about Sakura, and constantly being challenged to fight. He could very well do without it.
They stood there for awhile, complacent without talking and being lost in their own thoughts. Then Neji spoke.
"Hm?" She regarded him quizzically.
He'd fought many battles against formidable opponents, but fighting his own pride was by far the hardest. Without a word, he handed her a small white box.
Tenten still seemed puzzled as she took it and he looked away so she wouldn't detect the oh-so-faint blush on his cheeks.
Nestled in the box were two white hair ribbons. The kunoichi STARED. And stared some more. Neji giving her a present was astounding in itself, but this?
"…giving a girl a white ribbon symbolizes true love…"
Damn Lee. Damn Ino for telling him that. And damn herself for wanting to believe it.
"Uh…Neji…" Her voice emerged somewhat strangled. "Do you know what these...err...mean?"
No answer. But the now-apparent darkening of his skin told her all she needed to know.
So embarrassed was Neji at blowing his stoic cover that he failed to notice Tenten's proximity until he felt her lips touch his cheek.
Neji actually smiled. The flowers bloomed! The birds still recovering from Ino's death glare took flight in a sky of rich azure! Kakashi suddenly realized the error of his ways and burned Icha Icha Paradise in favor of reading Little Women!
But Neji had smiled, so Tenten smiled back. In turn, both were blinded by Gai's pinging teeth when he popped in front of them.
"Neji, Tenten! While I am pleased to see you both in the youthful raptures of love, you may gaze at each other while you run your six hundred laps!"
So much for romance.
"But we HELPED Lee with his cake!" Tenten protested.
Gai winked. "But his true love didn't get the cake, thus making it invalid! And since he ate it…"
Tenten made a mental note to use Lee for weapons practice very, very soon.
"And now I must go! My own true love awaits me and she doesn't like me to be late! YOOOOOSH! Kakashi, my eternal rival! I have defeated you in the matters of love and punctuality!"
Gai disappeared and Neji and Tenten were properly horrified.
"Gai-sensei has a girlfriend?" The brunette was having trouble grasping this. "Who would…DO that?"
Neji shrugged. "Someone with questionable mental capacities. Let's go train."
Elsewhere, Mitarashi Anko sneezed.
Holy crap, 14 pages. Oh, geez. Well, if this hasn't killed your brain, please review!