A/N: So I started this story in 2014, wrote two chapters, then never looked at it again. 4 years later, I've decided I'm gonna re-write the first two chapters and then try to finish it. The first chapter was good before but a little scattered so, here's this. Hope ya like it.
After drying herself off and moisturizing her body, Tenten wrapped her dark blue towel around herself and stepped out of the shower onto the bathroom rug. She grabbed a green towel off the towel rack, knowing fully well that it was Lee's towel, and used it to wrap up her long, russet-colored hair. The towel would probably be dry by the time Lee got home and, even if it weren't, he wouldn't have noticed.
She should have found it odd that no one was around in her normally crowded house, but she was just happy to be alone after a long day of was much calmer and more peaceful than Kirigakure, where Tenten and her family used to live, which made it easier to resist the urge to start crime-fighting again. Tenten didn't realize that working at an advertising agency would be almost as demanding, though. Feeling her back ache after sitting in a hard, uncomfortable desk all day made her wish she listened to Yamato when he insisted that she wouldn't have to work in Suna. Though, even if being the only unemployed member of the house hadn't made her feel bad, she would've gotten stir-crazy without anything to keep her time occupied. Being raised the way she was, Tenten did not understand the concept of downtime. She bullied herself if she wasn't doing something constantly.
Thus, she was feeling out of sorts without anyone else around. In the few months since they moved to Suna, she had created a routine. She woke up at five and worked out in their home gym for about an hour and a half, then made breakfast for the entire family. Gai and Lee typically woke up and started working out before she did, but their workouts lasted longer than hers. Yamato usually woke up by six, but he liked to have alone time in the attic doing god knows what, so she cooked everyone's individual meals. She kept Lee and Gai's in the microwave while Yamato came down to eat with her, but she didn't usually make Kakashi's until fifteen minutes before she left because he liked it hot but also slept in pretty often. Sai had trouble falling asleep and typically didn't wake up until eleven, so he had to fend for himself when it came to breakfast. After work, she would work out again, shower again, and make dinner. When dinner was done, she did the dishes, then read or sketched with Sai until she went to bed. Like Sai, Tenten had trouble sleeping so she spent at least two hours staring at the ceiling before falling asleep.
As a self-proclaimed feminist and the only woman in the house, she should've complained about doing all of the domestic work, but she was the one who insisted that she could do these things without the help of any of her boys. It made her anxious to fall out of routine and she hated not having anything to do. The benefit to it all was that, sometimes, the physical toll of her day would make it easier to fall asleep.
She dressed in her pajamas and sat on the L-shaped forest green couch in the living room. She turned on the news but kept the television on mute, lying down on her side and closing her eyes. In a few minutes, she would get up to make dinner. It was almost seven and usually at least two people were home by now. Her phone was in her room upstairs and she didn't know whether anyone had texted her, but she would've gotten a phone call if anything bad happened. Gai, Lee, and Yamato were very good about that. If something had happened to Kakashi or Sai then, well, Yamato was likely to find out and call her. Either way, she knew she didn't have to worry about the absence of her family.
In three months, it would mark eight years since she came to live with Gai, Kakashi, Yamato, Lee, and, later, Sai. That would be a third of her life, yet it still felt so new. She was used to being alone and, to this day, it felt weird to her that she had a family so large that it sometimes took her an hour to cook dinner for everyone. All of her boys had different and, often contradicting, personalities, so living together could sometimes be a challenge, but she wouldn't trade it for the world. Breaking up an occasional argument between the constantly worrying Yamato and the too carefree Kakashi was still better than before. She spent the first sixteen years of her life with nothing, no family to call her own. Though it was hard to adjust at first - she wasn't used to having to care about people - she quickly realized how fortunate she was for the men around her.
The ring of the doorbell snapped Tenten out of her thoughts. She opened her eyes and stood up, walking to the door. They hadn't lived in Suna long enough to make close friends, but she wouldn't be surprised if Gai's bubbling personality already had neighbors trying to warm up to them.
When she opened the door, she was surprised to see Ino Yamanaka, who she met in her Intro to Marketing course during her first year of college. The two texted each other pretty frequently, but hadn't seen each other in person since graduation a year prior. Ino was just as slim, glowing, and platinum blonde as Tenten remembered.
"Ten! Ten!" Ino wrapped her arms around Tenten, pulling her into a fierce hug and squealing all the while. She held onto Tenten's shoulders and held her at arm's length. "Have you gained weight or something, you look so good! I could just eat you up right here!"
Tenten smiled and shook her head, beaming at the compliments. She was used to Ino flirting with her but still found it embarrassing every time. "I feel like I'm always making food for others but hardly eating any myself. Isn't that weird? Come in, come in."
Tenten held the door open and watched Ino step inside with her hands behind her back. She did the proper amount of staring, wandering around the living room, kitchen, and dining room areas with wide-eyed interest.
"Nice place, very contemporary, loving the open concept," Ino commented with a soft smile, nodding at the living room furniture. Tenten responded by shooting her a look, eyebrows furrowed incredulously. Ino raised her own recently waxed ones in response. "What?"
"Thanks, but I don't think you drove all the way from Konoha to talk about the design of my house," Tenten said. She eyed Ino as she walked passed her and into the kitchen. Ino followed, sitting down at the kitchen island, and watched Tenten pour two glasses of water, one with ice in it. Tenten slid the ice cold water in front of Ino, who took a sip and mouthed 'thank you'. Tenten leaned her hip against the marble countertop and stared at the blonde, narrowing her eyes. "As much as I've missed your face, this is quite a surprise, and you know I hate those."
"Technically, I gave you a heads-up!" Ino exclaimed. Her eyes sparkled mischievously. "I texted you 'SYS' with a wink emoji literally three hours ago."
"I didn't think you were being literal." Tenten rolled her eyes. That was her fault: Ino was many things, but sarcastic she was not. In fact, she was annoyingly genuine about everything. Still, Tenten thought Ino's text was just a jab at how little they see each other.
"When aren't I being literal?" Ino retorted, widening her already large eyes. Tenten rolled her eyes again, determined not to fall victim to her friend's charms. "Anyway, it's important. Hinata needs our help. The Akatsuki – who I'm sure you're familiar with – keeps trying to kidnap her boyfriend because he's, like, super powerful, but he doesn't know how to control it, and the Akatsuki want to exploit that."
Tenten nodded, pretending to follow along. "Right, right, right, makes sense. Question, though: who's Hinata?"
Ino blinked at her in confusion. Tenten blinked back, equally confused. This went on for a few seconds until Ino pulled out her phone and typed something in with quiet determination. She turned the screen to Tenten, who studied the picture of a woman dressed in a tight lavender bodysuit, with a lavender domino mask that concealed her eyes, though the rest of her face was pretty visible. She was wearing a short/haired wig to match her lavender jumpsuit, intricately designed with stripes of navy blue. In her arms, she was holding a child bridal style. There was smoke and a burning building in the background of the photo.
"What am I looking at here?" Tenten asked.
Ino sighed and put her phone down. "I'm assuming that means you haven't been keeping tabs on other…" she gestured with her hands, trying to find the words, "…superpowered individuals? Like, if I had gotten the memo that you were legit retired, I wouldn't have bothered you."
Ino wasn't even trying to be a bitch, but she wasn't good at masking her feelings in her tone. Tenten could tell that she was disappointed. Tenten frowned, feeling guilty.
"I'm not 'legit retired', Ino," Tenten responded, crossing her arms over her chest defensively. "I've just been taking some time off to spend with my family. Besides, apparently," she gestured to Ino's phone, "there's other people around, who needs me?"
"I do," Ino said in all seriousness, eyes twinkling. "I know we only did it for the first two years but you and I were a great team back in college. My other friends are in trouble, and you're the first person that came to mind when Hinata approached me. She's already enlisted the help of her cousin, and a few of our other mutual friends, plus, she's pretty capable herself. But, no one I know has as much knowledge of the Akatsuki as you do, and, even if you knew nothing, you bring out the best in me."
Ino leaned forward, taking Tenten's rough, calloused hands into her own. "I need you, Tenten. Please."
Ino wouldn't have said it if she didn't mean it. They were both incredible sincere, it was what their friendship was built on in the first place. They were assigned to the same group for a presentation and were both honest about the other's work. From that day on, even when the class ended, they were each other's best critics, both in and out of the classroom. It was no secret that the pair admired each other.
Still, as much as she respected Ino, Tenten had no desire to get involved with the Akatsuki. From what she learned from Gai, Kakashi, and Yamato, they were a dangerous group of individuals. It didn't help that some of the members of the criminal organization were connected to her past in ways Tenten was not comfortable with. What was buried should stay that way.
She searched Ino's cerulean eyes, feeling like she was wading in the ocean. With a heavy sigh, she nodded, cracking a forced smile. "Hinata needs our help, after all."
End note: My relationship with Naruto has been on/off for many, many years. I technically stopped watching the show 7 or 8 years ago and have only kept up with it through reading fanfics and getting updates from my brother. As of yesterday, I decided I'm gonna watch the whole thing, starting from the beginning (I'm up to episode 7 now)...
With that said! Tenten will always have a place in my heart and I've had a lot of writer's block lately so I'm going back to my roots and writing Tenten-centric/NejiTen fics. With that said, this is likely going to be an ensemble fic because so many characters play such an important role. The idea for this grew out of my love for the X-Men (and superheroes more generally), but the title comes from a song by Azealia Banks.
Sorry if anyone's OOC, as I said, I haven't watched the show in years...but I hope you enjoy!
EDIT (08/09/18): Made some slight changes to this chapter and the next one! Enjoy :)