Tell me. Do people meet to get separated?
I'd like to think it's a mistake

- Jounetsu, Tokyo Underground OP


They still talked about it, in Konoha. The allegations of mental instability, the textbook-perfect assaults, the dramatic increase in hospital-use. It spawned a ballad that was sung from one end of Fire Country to the other. Jiraiya had used it – and, it was alleged, encouraged the ballad as free oral advertising – to pen one of his most successful issues of Icha Icha Paradise ever. More importantly, it had been the first issue of his that Tsunade had ever read, laughing hysterically the whole time.

(Afterwards, of course, she had punted Jiraiya through the ceiling for his perverted drawings)

And it was all because Tenten had asked the other girls' help with her increasingly potent feelings for Hyuuga Neji.


Actually, it wasn't so much that she asked for help than Ino and Sakura had gotten her drunk, and she had spilled her deepest secrets in a blubbering mess. In between sobs of how he never noticed her, never, and how much she just wanted to hold him when he got that dark, angry look in his eyes, Tenten cried out that she loved him.

Ino and Sakura, who had really only wanted to know what the hell her last name was, were beside themselves at this unexpectedly juicy discovery. They stopped feeding her liquor and started with comfort-food, plying Tenten with sympathy, tissues, and chocolate-fudge-ripple ice cream with cookies. They swore up and down to do all in their power to make Hyuuga Neji realize how much an idiot he was being – Tenten managed a half-hearted swipe at them, which never connected and only earned her 'Awww'sat how loyal she was to an undeserving bastard such as him – and spoke aloud of aphrodisiac flowers, medic-nin potions with much the same results, or truth-telling chemicals.

It was Hinata, who had shrunk back and hoped not to be noticed (and force-fed liquor as Tenten was) who actually made the suggestion they would seize on. Perhaps it was because she wanted to see someone confess to her secret crush, being as she could not do it herself; maybe it was because she wanted to see her cousin and her friend happy; or maybe it was simply to shut the other three girls up before they ranted any more on how devastatingly sexy Neji was (a severely drunk Tenten) or how to get him to do things (Ino and Sakura) and possibly damaged Hinata's psyche forever.

"Why don't you t...tell Neji-niisan that y…you l…love him?"


Of course Tenten could not do this straight-up blunt, the way Ino and Sakura had used to proclaim their affection for Sasuke-kuuuun! back in the day. Considering what had happened between then and now, that might have been a good thing. So Ino and Sakura, running with Hinata's initial idea, came up with another plan.


The male members of Team Gai were seriously unnerved. When your capable, reliable, unromantic team-mate suddenly takes to giggling lightly, and giving breathy, wistful little sighs, and gazing off into the distance with dreamy eyes, you feel a little as if your world has fallen out of joint.

Lee, surprisingly, was the first one to correctly diagnose her condition. "Our beautiful flower," he proclaimed to Neji and Gai, "has discovered someone with whom she wishes to share the full blooming of her YOUTH!"

Gai gasped and then grabbed Lee in a hug while they wept over how time flew, and how beautiful Tenten's springtime of youth was, and the unspeakable glory of it all. Meanwhile, Neji, after taking a minute to puzzle out Lee's meaning, had quietly erupted in a searing bonfire of angry chakra.

"What?" he gritted out between clenched teeth.

"I said, Tenten has found someone to share her blooming with," Lee repeated patiently. Neji made a face at how wrong that sounded. "That means," Lee explained further, having realized that sometimes Neji was dense and didn't understand perfectly clear sentences of YOUTH POWER, "that she's in l-"

"Shut up!" Neji snarled at him. "Don't spread such filthy lies!" He stomped over to his female team-mate, intent on proving Lee wrong.

"Tenten," he demanded, "You're not in love with anyone, right?"

Startled, Tenten looked up at him. Neji made another face – though, as he was a Hyuuga, that merely consisted of a slight wrinkle in his brow – as he realized she had been braiding daisy-chains Daisy-chains. Who had kidnapped Tenten and left him with this girly substitute?

Tenten opened her mouth for the automatic denial – then closed it, slowly, as she remembered her plan. "Y…yes, yes I am," Tenten finally admitted, quietly, staring down at her hands and the small white flowers in them. She peeked up for Neji's reaction.

Which was none.

"I see," he said coolly, and strode off. Tenten bit her lip, before she was glomped onto by two sobbing Green Beasts who had to be reassured that her new lover – she choked at the word – would not take her away from them.

"No," Tenten said softly, staring at where Neji had gone, "I don't think he'll distract me very much from training."


Neji Kaiten'd a thirty-foot-deep crater into solid bedrock that day.


tbc