Chapter 1: 1000 Piece Puzzles for Headaches, Temporary Insanity and Bonding
Pairing: Neji x TenTen (whatcha expect? I can't go on a break from this pairing for too long )
Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
A/N: A NejiTen series XD yey! I got the idea to make this a series from a review I received that told me that I should make a chaptered NejiTen story, and I am XD read and enjoy?
Mito Gai sighed deeply. It was officially a holiday in Konoha, and the morning was spent by the four three-genin teams (except of course Team 10, who had a Chuunin on their side), on a picnic, if it had to be described. He had been observing all four teams, comparing the other groups of three, with his elder three members, the supposedly most 'mature' ones of the three teams… SUPPOSEDLY. However, it wasn't so. The cheerful man had noticed that unlike team 8, who had been quietly eating the food served to them, or unlike Team 7 or 10 that chose to sit together, his team had been broken apart.
Rock Lee, no doubt, if he had to say, his favorite student had migrated to where Team 7 and 10 were seated, fighting Uzumaki Naruto for a chance to impress Haruno Sakura. It didn't matter whoever had the chance though, for Haruno Sakura was too busy fighting for Uchiha Sasuke with former best friend Yamanaka Ino. Akimichi Chouji had been pigging out with the food, and Nara Shikamaru chose not to bother himself with such things and just did his hobby, staring at the clouds, the Chuunin was no doubt bored.
Hyuuga Neji and TenTen, Mito Gai's two remaining students, had never been in what you call 'friendly' terms with each other. From opinions about Uchiha Sasuke (who she found rather cute and he found as nothing but an arrogant prick) to small things like the right condiments for foods. And now, those two had been seated under a tree, sneering at each other, both obviously irritated by the other. It was nothing new, but it was rather disturbing, because neither had seemed to blink, not wanting to show signs of weakness.
Probably, there was nothing wrong with their actions; they are in their springtime of youth after all… thought the cheerful jounin. However, the other genins, were also in their springtime of youth, and they had stuck with their teammates. There was no unity whatsoever on his team, and he knew that was bad news. It would affect their missions, their tests, and probably their health since usually the three of them had been trying to kill each other. Most of all however… their Gai-sensei had wanted them to be friends J.
Mito Gai sighed…
There was something wrong with his team…
He had to do something…
"Eh…?" Rock Lee had exclaimed loudly as Gai-sensei appeared before them that day briefing them that that day, they would not do training but something else, which he classified as most important, "But Gai-sensei, we can't waste any training time!"
The older version of the genin cleared his throat as he handed the three-man team a box, "This is more important Lee, think about it, if you guys do not prevail, you will be in big trouble in the future. This is a test of cooperation!"
The Hyuuga of the three-genin team snorted upon hearing the word 'cooperation'.
"I don't want to cooperate with him." TenTen had rolled her eyes, pointing towards the arrogant Neji Hyuuga.
"It's not as if I would want to cooperate with you either." Replied the Hyuuga bluntly.
"I want to train…" sighed Lee, looking rather troubled, "I need to practice my Taijutsu more…"
But their sensei was firm with his decision, shoving the box into Neji's hands, "Lee, you will be perfectly fine, if you want, we'll do extra training tomorrow. So no more buts, and don't complain," the sensei said firmly, "This is very important, and is very important when we have missions and such, you know… Most of all, I don't want Lee and TenTen trying to kill Neji and Neji fighting back anymore. These attempted murders might be investigated by Tsunade-sama if you guys don't stop."
Neji and TenTen rolled their eyes, their expression spelling out the phrase, 'As if' but their other teammate's eyes widened, "Really Gai-sensei?" he seemed to be really shocked.
The jounin laughed, "Not really… but I still want to see that puzzle done when I get back, I expect great results. Kakashi told me it's a great way to instill teamwork in teams, he used it for his very own team actually. I hear they're off on a break today, no missions lately, so I found the exact time period to let you do this." He flashed a smile at his three-genin team before going off.
"I can't believe Gai-sensei wants us to do something like this… this is for children." The accuracy master had sat down, as the Byakugan-wielder began to open the box.
Lee had plopped down to the place beside TenTen, reading the label of the box, "A one thousand piece puzzle… will we be able to finish that?" the boy sighed.
Neji rolled his eyes and with voice filled with sarcasm, made to the tone of Lee, "Yes, we can Gai-sensei! With hardwork and perseverance we can do anything!"
"HEY!" Lee scowled, about to dive on the Hyuuga, and pound him with his well-trained Taijutsu skills.
TenTen stopped the boy, "We might loose pieces of this thing if you bother him, Lee… and you know sensei when we don't accomplish something… 'Rounds for Youth' as he calls them. 100 laps around Konoha, I bet you'd like that… but me, no. I don't think Neji wants that either, so let's get this stupid thing done."
"Hn." The Hyuuga grunted as he placed the pieces slowly on the floor, looking for possible connections already.
"This will be a long day…" sighed TenTen when she saw all one thousand pieces laid on the floor, "A very long one…"
"Shut up TenTen," Neji then said as he began getting random pieces and finding some connections, "Get working, so this'll be over faster."
The two sighed, though agreeing…
Hey, it was working…
The damned thing was actually making these genins agree with each other.
This will do Gai-sensei proud.
"He left, huh?" asked Neji as he inspected a piece that doesn't seem to fit anywhere else.
TenTen sighed, "Yeah, apparently, he found out that today, Sakura was free, so he decides to leave us with the boring, pathetic work and try to ask Sakura out. He likes running rounds anyway."
"He wasn't helping much either, he almost destroyed the pieces." Noted the Hyuuga quickly as he left the piece for a moment and went on to another, which he had found its connection to quite quickly. "He's always too impatient… that idiot."
"You can't blame him, he does work very hard." TenTen noted, finding another connection. Out of the two hours they had spent together, they had managed to put barely a hundred together, then Lee left.
"There's no connection between my statement and what you said TenTen." The Hyuuga quipped as he once again put a puzzle piece in the side that had all the other pieces he had no idea where to put. "Think about what you say, before saying it why don't you."
"Fine, I'll say something that'd connect quite well Hyuuga Neji," TenTen began with a slight frown of frustration with both the genin she was stuck with and the puzzle they had finish in order to avoid 100 laps around Konoha, "Shut the hell up and work, I want to get home by dinner-time."
"You're not the only one." The Byakugan-wielder rolled his eyes. He had no idea why but when he was with his female teammate, he had always seemed to talk much more than usual, not that it mattered in anything.
Silence abounded the two as they had resolved to working their brains out in trying to connect the puzzle pieces together until finally, after around 30 minutes, the weapons master, or is that mistress (?) decided to break the silence.
"Neji, are you getting tired of this?" she had asked, quite tired with what they have been doing, not physically though mentally. She had decided moments ago that 100 laps may be more painful, but this was surely more tiring. They had connected two hundred pieces, which had been quite a relief.
There was a pause before the Hyuuga answered. Apparently, he had been buried in trying to put together two puzzle pieces, finding out he held one upside down, "Yes." He replied simply.
"I can never look the same way at the Village of Hidden Leaf again." She noted. Their puzzle apparently had been a portrait of their colorful town, the Village of Hidden Leaf.
Neji Hyuuga, apparently had no sense of humor whatsoever, well at least, not that big enough to understand what she had meant. "Why not? You have the same pair of eyes… right?"
"I don't know Neji… if you had meant to be sarcastic, or honestly did not catch on with what I had said…" the genin looked at him unbelievably. "I would opt for the former… but it's going to be terribly weird if it was the latter… and awfully funny too, that my backside would hurt because I fell from where I was seated or something."
The Hyuuga didn't answer her, but instead shove dozens of pieces at her. After the shoving, he said, "Why don't you just shut up and get working?" his voice held a light tone of annoyance.
TenTen stuck out her tongue as she took all those with the same color and grouped them together, finding pieces that could have been connected to each other, "Hmph… you're just denying the fact that you couldn't catch on with that statement."
The Hyuuga rolled his eyes and did not mind the female genin.
"Hey, hey…" she began after a few moments.
The Hyuuga sighed, he managed to get ten pieces together, and he had wanted to continue the rather good performance without her breaking his concentration, "What is it now?"
"Hey, do you know anything about falling in love?" the female asked as she took a blue piece, for the sky of the picture she presumed, and placed it on the spot that had been missing a piece.
The Hyuuga arched an eyebrow, "Are you really that desperate to have a conversation? Because as far as I know… you never and I mean NEVER pondered on such things…"
She shrugged, "If someone like Lee, skips a responsibility from one such as Gai-sensei, there's gotta be something special going on…"
He blinked, I guess she's serious after all..
"I wonder what is it in that 'love' thing." The genin pondered, "Have you ever fallen in love, Neji?"
"Is that something you ask your arch enemy, TenTen?" he looked at her weirdly, his teammate apparently lost her sanity – he presumed it was because of the strain the puzzle was causing her mind, but he could be wrong, it might be because of some other reason.
TenTen laughed lightly, "Guess not… but since we're on the topic Neji, can you answer anyway?"
"No." the Hyuuga simply answered.
She blinked, in a little confusion, "Umm… is that no to answering my question or no to the question?"
"The latter," the Hyuuga said as he reached out for a puzzle piece.
"I see… me too, you know?" she said reaching for a puzzle piece as well.
"Expected." Both had said in unison, hands meeting as both tried to reach for the same puzzle piece.
They made eye contact for a moment, and Neji could have sworn that the he saw a light blush on his teammates face. Impossible the Hyuuga thought. If it were another girl, he would've believed it, but TenTen, nope, not at all.
She restrained anymore blood to rush to her cheeks. She had a feeling he saw her blush, and if it were proven, she would be so embarrassed. Damnit, why did I blush? TenTen thought for a moment, she knew that fluttering hearts, butterflies in the stomach and other such things would begin for her soon. Though rather late, it still had come, much to her dismay. But still, of all the people for the spark to begin with… she had hated the simple fact… It began with Hyuuga Neji. She knew she must have looked like quite an airhead, sitting down, and blankly staring at nowhere in particular, so she scowled at him.
"Why did you get that piece? I thought you were working on the city?"
The Hyuuga arched an eyebrow, "I was working on the sky, weren't you working on the city?"
"No, YOU were."
"I kinda know what I'm working on TenTen."
"I do too, you know Neji."
"Ugh…" the Hyuuga groaned, "Just put what you finished here and let's connect them, arguing will only take us a longer time."
"Fine. Coward." TenTen muttered gathering the pieces together, and grudgingly placing it near his, "Here."
Neji stared at her for a moment, taking in what she had just said slowly, "What… What did you just say?"
"Hmm…?" the genin asked looking at the Hyuuga eye to eye, "Here?"
"No, not that… before that…" he said through gritted teeth.
She blinked for a moment then realized, "Oh, you meant coward, I see now… But you really are a coward," she laughed giddily.
"I'm going to kill you after we finish this…" the Hyuuga glared at her, throwing the puzzle piece they had both taken hold to moments ago at her, "Connect them, I'm working on the city."
"Fine…" she sighed, there was no other option but to cooperate with this guy if they wanted to be finished by that day.
Five hundred pieces.
The two of them looked rather proud. In three and a half hours in total (with Lee with them in the first two hours) they had managed to accomplish that.
"Ready for another three and a half more hours, Neji?" TenTen laughed, "There's still half of it to go."
Neji looked at the puzzle, "It would be easier, now that there're five hundred pieces for basis… probably just an hour or so…or maybe two…"
"So it would be five or six when we finish then?" TenTen smiled, "Still up for killing me?"
"Maybe…" the Hyuuga told her, "Depends I guess."
"Want to go eat some ramen after everything? My treat…" she smiled. Somehow, this whole puzzle ordeal had made her agree with the Byakugan-wielding boy a whole lot more. They barely seemed to argue too, Gai-sensei would be rather relieved. "I doubt there would be anything good prepared in my house anyway…"
The Hyuuga arched an eyebrow, "The goddess of stinginess? Treating ME, of all the people? You've really damaged your brain…"
She pouted lightly. She had always been a little, a LITTLE thrifty and there was nothing wrong with that. Money makes the world go round, and they also buy her the best and newest types of kunais, "Well, take the chance while you still can, the offer won't last. I'm telling you that."
"Fine then, I accept the offer." The Hyuuga said somewhat amused as he fiddled with some puzzle pieces before throwing a number of them at her, "Well then, get to work why don't you?"
She glared at him, "Hmph, but you better not order something expensive."
The Hyuuga shrugged, and unbeknownst to the two of them, Neji Hyuuga, THE Neji Hyuuga had actually been smiling.
"I can't believe you left Neji and TenTen to do the work alone Lee, I expected much from you…" Gai sighed. Kakashi had said that it would work quite well, but seemingly, he hadn't computed the fact that one of them might have left. The jounin was 99.99% sure that his two other students had either been killing each other, or already had killed each other.
The younger version of the jounin sniffed, "I'm sorry Gai-sensei, I hadn't realized that…"
"It's alright Lee… but you shall have to do the 'Rounds of Youth' early tomorrow morning!" Gai had exclaimed, "I perfectly understand that you are just enjoying your springtime of youth!"
Lee had stood up straight and alert, and with an enthusiastic smile added, "Hai, Gai-sensei!"
It had been six o'clock already and what a surprise had it been for him to find Lee nervously standing in front of Sakura Haruno's front door, with a bouquet of flowers and chocolates. What shocked the jounin more was that he had been there for around three hours now, unable to knock and ask the genin out.
He had been quite worried, he knew that if Lee was there, there would probably be no bloodshed. TenTen would stop Lee from killing the Hyuuga and Lee would stop TenTen from pulling the wonderful hairs off Hyuuga Neji's head. However, leaving those two alone, Mito Gai couldn't help but wonder if Neji had been made bald by a particularly sharp kunai TenTen loved to use or if TenTen had been beaten to a pulp by the young Hyuuga.
"Gai-sensei, over here! We were working over here." His younger version had ran to a place in the vast training ground.
The jounin followed the genin, rather amazed by what he saw.
"Gai-sensei, they actually…" Lee managed to say rather shocked as well.
"They finished it." Gai smiled, at least I think two of my members are now in better terms with each other.
Lee smiled, "Hey, Gai-sensei, this is a pretty good picture of Konoha."
"Yeah… it is…"
"Achoo…" two genins seated on the bench of Ichiraku ramen bar had sneezed at the same time.
They looked at each other and said in unison, "Someone must be thinking about you…"
They then turned away, astounded by the weird turn of events. They had just arrived in the little restaurant, both of them mentally exhausted by the task they had to do. They recently finished their orders, which had been under a strict limit set by TenTen, who was planning to buy backup spears that month.
"Umm… well, enjoy then…" TenTen managed to cough out.
Neji blinked, not understanding where his sudden lack of words came from. He grunted for a moment then said, "Umm… then… Thanks… I think."
"Err… yeah…" TenTen had said, "So what do you think? Will Lee be running around Konoha tomorrow?"
"Yeah…" the Hyuuga said flatly.
"He enjoys those things I guess…" TenTen stated, "He's weird that way."
"Hn." Neji grunted, but obviously agreeing. Their teammate had always been weird that way, but they cared for the guy nonetheless. They were impressed by his attitude, though Neji would rather kill himself than say that.
"Umm… so…" TenTen began to say but found nothing to talk about so shut her mouth anyway. She was know wondering whether the time they had when they had been fighting and arguing every moment was worse than finding no words to tell him anything. She presumed this was better – the two of them in better terms with each other. She never thought that could happen though.
Gai-sensei was right… that puzzle does work… somehow… the Hyuuga thought as he kept his eyes on Ichiraku's cooks as they prepared their meal. He didn't understand the sudden uneasiness that filled between them. He was pretty much sure that they had been 'friends' to a certain extent. But as far as definition of the word, 'friends' goes, friends talked and were comfortable with each other. They obviously weren't. However, they weren't trying to kill each other either…
What exactly were they?
Their silence was disturbed when the cheerful Ichiraku cook presented them with TenTen's change and their ramen and they began to eat their meal.
"So… umm…?" TenTen stood in front of Neji as they just exited the ramen shop.
Neji didn't show his uneasiness but was obviously was. He didn't know… perhaps this was all a dream, and he would wake up in his bed feeling stupid because he had acted in such a way, even if it was a dream. However though, there was this part of him already assuring his that this was NOT a dream, but really happening. Hyuuga Neji's heart was softening, all thanks to a stupid, crummy idea of his jounin-sensei involving jigsaw puzzles.
TenTen gulped, watching the genin look at the sky, feel the cool exterior he was emitting. "Umm… I better go home then." She managed to say, before walking away.
He ran up to her, and so very un-Neji-ishly, he took her hand and said, "I'll walk you home."
TenTen scowled, though feeling her insides jumping around, "I can perfectly take care of myself."
"I know…" Neji said with some difficulty even though it only had been two simple words.
She smiled, "I guess I could use the company…"
He grunted looking away, and believe it or not, and even if TenTen had not seen it, he blushed. J
Gai-sensei and his stupid idea… it managed to bring Neji and TenTen closer together. J
::Tsuzuku – to be continued::
A/N: Though I honestly think that it could be concluded here, Gai-sensei still has more ideas, and of course, our favorite couple will be his victim o tee hee… I think this will last around 5-7 chapters, or maybe less. It depends on how much odd ideas I get, and of course, until I can write about these stupidity XD laughs It's rather cheerful Did anybody noticed I like writing cheerful NejiTens? It's because it's sad if everything's so depressing, if you know what I mean Anyway, R/R!