Tenten, Neji, and Lee are all 14 in this.
If I owned Naruto, Gai and Lee would so take over American Idol.
"Hello, Hiashi-san! I'm sure you're wondering why I'm supporting your unconscious nephew! Simply put, he's drunk!"
No, that wouldn't work.
"Eheheh, guess Hyuugas can't hold their sake, eh?" Chuckle. Groan.
"When you're teammates with a stubborn genius and a hyperactive guy in a green spandex suit, weird things just sorta happen…"
With a long-suffering sigh, Tenten stole a glance at her pale-eyed friend…and the flashback conveniently began.
"That's your challenge. A water-drinking contest."
Had anyone else said the above statement, it would have sounded incredulous, exasperated, and annoyed. Hyuuga Neji just sounded bored.
Rock Lee, however, ignored his obvious lack of enthusiasm and pumped his fist in the air. "I may not be at your level yet, Neji, but I shall best you at this! The first one to finish his water and replenish his body will win!"
"…If I win…you stop challenging me to these inane battles for a month."
"A MONTH!" Lee squawked indignantly. "How about a week?"
Lee sighed heavily. "All right…but if I win, you acknowledge me as your most worthy rival!"
Tenten offhandedly observed the almost-imperceptible tightening of Neji's jaw. His words of assent were a low mutter.
"That's all very well and good," the kunoichi spoke up as they entered the restaurant where the contest was to be held. "…But why am I here?"
Lee looked at her as if she had suddenly announced that she was deeply and madly in love with Orochimaru and was planning to elope with him that very night. "To be the referee, of course!"
Tenten closed her eyes. "Of course…silly me. I should've realized you needed someone to see how fast you can choke on water."
Neji smirked at this. He'd never admit it, but he was glad she'd come along. He liked having someone sane with him when Lee did these sorts of things.
Lee carefully avoided replying to that and cheerfully flagged down a waiter. "Two waters, please, and a plate of pork dumplings for the flower of our group!"
Tenten twitched, but controlled herself and took her seat at their table. One who aspired to be an exemplary kunoichi like Tsunade did NOT deserve such nicknames like "Flower" or, her personal peeve, "Bun Girl" (Kiba had sorely regretted calling her that a day after the dratted nickname was conceived).
A second later, those thoughts escaped her mind as she was nearly deafened by the bawdy screaming of the occupants of the table two feet away from theirs.
"BRING US THE STRONGEST DRINKS YA GOT, YA SNOBBY BASTARDS!"
Neji gave a barely-audible snort. "Drunks shouldn't be allowed in public places. They make such a scene."
"We…got all the rights that ya have, WHITE EYES! What're ya, BLIND?"
The boy stiffened. How DARE they insult the traditional Hyuuga eyes!
Perhaps anticipating a brawl and wanting to prevent it, the harassed-looking waiter reappeared with four glasses and a steaming bowl of dumplings. The two drunks immediately snatched up their glasses and held them up in a mock-toast.
"To the REAL men of Konoha!"
Now BOTH Lee and Neji were bristling with the implied offense.
"Your challenge," Tenten hastily reminded them, just as desperate as the waiter to avoid unnecessary bloodshed. "Drink to victory and don't let them get to you."
Insult or no, Neji's pride was still mostly intact. "I don't need to listen to the foolish babble of drunk men." Which was, coincidentally, EXACTLY what his teammate had just been saying. He picked up his glass and glanced at Lee, who paused to do his Nice Guy pose before following suit.
"Ready? One…two…three…GO!" Tenten brought her raised arm down sharply and the chugging race began.
Unfortunately, so did the cursing from the peanut gallery.
"Strongest drinks, my ASS! This -insertexpletivehere- tastes like WATER!"
"B-but it's our most potent sake!" The waiter stammered, looking about ready to burst into tears. "It shouldn't taste like water…"
"I win," Neji spoke up emotionlessly, indicating his empty glass.
Lee finished a split second later and looked simply devastated. "Neji, you have defeated me once again in fair combat! That water sort of burned, though…"
Tenten froze in the act of biting a savory dumpling. Cold, clammy fingers of fear forcefully gripped her insides. It couldn't be…
"Water can't burn," Neji replied scornfully. "That would be…funny."
Then he giggled. There was no other word to describe the high-pitched girlish sound that had just spilled from the mouth of one of the most stoic people in the entire village.
Neji giggling could be linked to many things…like Shikamaru building Rome in a day. Naruto torching the Ichiraku Ramen Stand. Kiba becoming a cat person. Hinata going into the stripping business. Tsunade winning a bet. Orochimaru renouncing all wrongdoings and opening a homeless shelter for adorable wide-eyed scamps like Gaara and Sasuke.
AKA none of this could EVER happen.
But it had.
"Neji…did you just…" Try as she might, Tenten couldn't squeeze out the words. They were just so WRONG.
"Are you…hic!... laughing at me?" Lee yelled belligerently, jumping up on the table with flushed cheeks and glassy eyes.
"Wa…hic!...terrrrr," Neji slurred in reply, now laughing hysterically.
Tenten gave a last, longing glance at her dumplings and investigated Lee's glass. The lingering smell hit her nose like a hammer and her worst fears were realized.
They had gotten the wrong glasses and now her teammates were roaring drunk. Worse, a single SIP of sake could mess Lee up, but he had CHUGGED a GLASS OF THEIR MOST POTENT ALCOHOL. And what about Neji?
A resounding crash and several screams answered her silent question. Lee and Neji were now fighting each other, delivering off-balance kicks and punches that would nevertheless send them flying to opposite ends of the room. Then, they'd hop up, yell obscenities (that was Lee) or giggle (Neji) and charge at each other once more.
"You guys--" Tenten hurried forward to stop them, but took an inadvertent step back as Drunk and Drunker blocked her path.
"Your buddies took our stuff," one snarled, jerking an indignant thumb at her teammates. "So WE'LL take YOU for compensation!"
He grabbed her shoulder and she automatically reached for a kunai--only to find that it wasn't needed.
The man went flying and crashed headlong into a wall over a frightened family's heads, thanks to a well-aimed punch. Neji pulled her to his side, one hand curved about her waist.
"Don't touch her. She's mine."
Although he still had that sake-induced flush on his cheeks, Neji (thankfully) wasn't giggling or hiccupping. Rather, he was in full-blown I'll-Kill-You-With-My-Stare-And-Rip-Out-Your-Innards-Through-Your-Nasal-Passage mode.
"The…hic!...SPRINGTIME OF YOUTH!" Lee roared triumphantly, barreling into the other man. "Prot…hic!...protect the…hic!...flower! Don't screw with…hic!...Neji! He'll SCREW YOU!"
"Um…" Despite her best efforts (at least she managed to tune out Lee's disturbing comments), Tenten couldn't fully suppress her blush. "…Thanks."
The genius was smiling goofily now, all homicidal intentions forgotten. "'Course…you're my…my…"
Tenten squeaked as he suddenly sagged against her. "Neji…!"
No reply. Neji appeared to have lost consciousness.
The kunoichi deftly moved him out of the way of the still-fleeing customers and propped him against a wall. "Stay there," she commanded (as if he'd hear her) and started to make her way towards Lee the Youthful Drunken Juggernaut.
A hand landed heavily on her shoulder. Now thoroughly tired of all of this, Tenten whirled, throwing a powerful punch at the man's face.
"LEAVE ME THE HELL ALONE, YOU STUPID BASTARD--oh."
Maito Gai caught her fist before it reached his nose and calmly patted her on the head. "I'm pleased to see your youth in action, Tenten! However, such language does not befit a young flower such as yourself! Has someone tried to suppress your growth?"
Tenten reclaimed her hand and mutely pointed to the bloody mess that had once been a loud-mouthed drunkard. "He's been dealt with."
"YOOOOOOOOSH! …hic!...Gai-sensei, look! I…hic!...showed him!" Lee was doing…SOME sort of victory dance, hands waving wild and free above his head while his downed opponent lay at his feet like a smelly rug.
Before Gai could answer, the waiter was back, tremulously tapping Lee's shoulder. "Umm…s-sir…c-could you please leave now? You've scared off all of our customers…"
The man deserved a medal for his bravery…but a medal would not save him now.
"You…hic! YOU WANT SOME, TOO?"
Gai winked at the speechless Tenten, who was still trying to puzzle out why this was happening to her--hadn't she been a good person?
"I'll take care of him," her sensei promised. "Please take our other member to the Hyuuga compound!"
She considered the ramifications of such a deed…telling Hiashi his underage nephew was drunk…or…
"Springtime of youuuuuuuth!" CRASHSHATTERBANG.
"I'll take Neji," Tenten decided, inching towards the Byakugan user…who had disobeyed her earlier command and slid to the floor, still wearing that ridiculous grin.
She paused, turning back to gaze expectantly at Gai. He, in turn, struck his Nice Guy pose and grinned. His teeth shone so brightly that Konoha could've used him as their sole source of light.
"Now, remember, he's in your care and you promised to watch over him…"
Oh, no. Tenten sucked in a breath so suddenly that she became lightheaded. Not THAT. ANYTHING BUT THAT.
Life can't be this unfair, she reasoned.
"Let's see that Nice Girl pose!"
Life SUCKED. Tenten glowered darkly at him. He had to be kidding.
Gai laughed heartily. Apparently, looks couldn't kill anymore, for he was living proof of that. "Come, Tenten! Show me your expression of youth! Strike that pose!"
If she didn't get out of here SOON, she'd end up doing something she'd (maybe) regret. Biting back a groan, she forced a smile on her face and gave him a thumbs up.
"I promise to take Neji home safely, Gai-sensei!"
Gai burst into tears, Lee mauled the screaming waiter, and Tenten wasted no time in placing Neji's arm over her shoulders, wrapping her arm around his waist and getting out of there as fast as was humanly possible.
Tenten could see the towering compound that was Neji's home loom closer…and closer yet. With each step, her heart beat painfully faster until her footsteps slowed and gradually stopped.
"He's going to think I'm responsible for this, you know," she said conversationally to Neji's nice-smelling hair. "Like I got you drunk to seduce you or something."
His head moved slightly…or was that her imagination? She waited, but Neji made no further actions, so she kept talking, pausing to rest against the wall of somebody's home.
"I'm no good at seducing people, anyway." The brunette smiled wryly. "I don't know why I'd try. I mean…I can't even keep you and Lee from getting drunk! Love for me is like…I don't know…"
In one swift movement, he had her pinned against the wall, his hands on either side of her body and his white eyes boring down into hers. ((A/N: Like smoldering marshmallows! Heeheehee!))
Tenten gulped. "You're supposed to be unconscious and/or drunk!" She protested, feeling very odd.
He tilted his head slightly, placing a finger beneath her chin and doing the same to it. He smirked faintly. "I am Hyuuga Neji." For him, this was reason enough.
"I'm…Tenten." How was she supposed to REPLY to that?
The smirk lingered, even in his smoky eyes. "Your seduction skills are just fine."
"What're you--" She was cut off when he pressed his lips to hers without warning and delivered a kiss that made her toes curl in their sandals and her fingers tighten convulsively on his arms.
So Tenten didn't have to worry about coming up with crappy excuses to say to Hiashi and discovered that life wasn't as unfair as she'd thought.
Too bad the house they were up against was Kiba's…who had come out to walk Akamaru.
"WHAT THE HELL!"
Neji and Tenten looked at each other. Then they looked at Kiba.
"If we silence him now, no one will ever know."
"Works for me."
"U-uh…g-guys, you really don't have...Tenten, get away from me with that thing! OH MY GOD, RUN, AKAMARU!"
Yes, just your average day in Konohagakure.
For some reason, I couldn't see Lee WILLINGLY having a drinking contest…not at his age, anyway, and I didn't feel like making them that much older. So I came up with this…the end results are the same, right?
Anyway, please review and if this freaks you out…yeah. I'm sorry! Here you go, Reki-chan!