Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto.
Tenten had been showering – blissful, warm, comforting water – when somebody knocked on her front door. Grumbling, she dried herself and pulled on a loose bathrobe, turning off the water. It was summer, so she left her dark hair hanging, damp, at her back.
"What do you want, that you have to interrupt my shower?" she muttered as she unlocked the door. If Lee was outside, he would leave with a massive fist-sized bruise. No, make that two fist-sized bruises; and perhaps a kunai or two and some throwing stars…
However, the bloodthirsty kunoichi was to be deprived of her human target – standing on her doorstep was… Hyuuga Neji? Tenten blinked and looked again. Yup, it was definitely Neji. His eyes still had that creepy feeling as they did whenever they were training.
"What are you doing here, Neji?" Tenten asked incredulously. Now why would her stony teammate be visiting her, of all people? Pearly white eyes glared at the concrete beneath his feet.
When she got no answer, Tenten reached out and poked the Byakugan user with her finger. He flinched and looked up, sighing. Was it just her eyes, or did the usually emotionless ninja look almost sheepish?
Yup, Tenten thought. That's sheepish, all right. Grah; I've been spending too much time around him, if I can read his emotions. Oh, man…
"Well, Neji?" she huffed impatiently, prodding him with the handle of a kunai. Finally, he opened his mouth and inhaled. Tenten waited.
"Neji, you idiot, speak to me or leave! Now!" Tenten shouted, turning. She was about to slam the door closed on his face when he extended his arm and grabbed her shoulder.
"Wait. I have a favor to ask of you."
Tenten almost fainted. Hyuuga Neji, the prodigy, was asking a favor of her!
"Wh-what is it?" The weapon-loving kunoichi was laughing maniacally inside of her head, but managed to keep a straight face on the outside. Just barely.
Neji's face turned pink. He didn't blush, but his face was no longer as unpink as it had been. "…Hinata-sama lost her temper and asked Hanabi-sama to torture me."
Tenten paused, her expression thoughtful. "Ah, I see. It's not safe for you in the compound, then, is it?" she commented slowly. Neji nodded, waiting for her to catch on. "So where do I come in?" He sighed. He'd been hoping that he wouldn't have to say it, but…
"M-may I… May I stay over with you tonight?" This was the last straw for Tenten. She collapsed in a fit of laughter, pounding the wood floor with her fists. Neji stared. He stood there, waiting.
After Tenten had finally calmed down, she wiped a tear from her eyes and, waving her hand vaguely around, replied, "Sure! Come in. Just don't touch anything, please." She frowned, a thought suddenly striking her. "Why didn't you stay with Lee and Gai-sensei… Oh." The question answered itself.
Neji entered her small apartment – and froze. Knives and other weapons lined the walls, some stuck up to the hilt in cracks in the wall. A small wooden table stood in the middle of the room, and next to it were two chairs. A kunai was imbedded in the center of the tabletop, and seven shuriken had been flung at the ceiling.
"As you can see, I don't usually clean up," Tenten apologized cheerfully. "I'm going to change. Help yourself to anything in the refrigerator, but nothing else. It's all booby trapped." She disappeared into the bathroom, leaving Neji standing there in shock.
When a now-fully clothed Tenten stepped out of the bathroom once more, her teammate had not moved from his spot by the door.
"Um… Neji-kun, are you going to do something besides stare?" she giggled. Startled out of his daze, Neji stepped forward, carefully avoiding all objects. He stopped in front of her and took in what she was searing. Black; everything was either black or red. Her top was Chinese-style, but was cut off around her shoulders so that they were bare. A long black skirt flowed around Tenten's feet, but when she moved, it was revealed that the skirt was actually a pair of loose pants. The kunoichi's hair was up in an elegant set of buns, and black and silver ornaments dangled from them. She wore no make-up, and her feet could not be seen.
"Why are you…" Neji began weakly, trailing off as he stared in amazement at his teammate. She grinned sheepishly but met his eyes steadily.
"I'm meeting Sakura and Ino for dinner. If you want, you can come with us. Or you can stay here." Neji eyed the weapon-riddled apartment.
"I'll come, I guess," he answered slowly.
"Yay!" Tenten did a little happy-dance. "It's better than coming home to find you impaled, or with every single trap set off," she laughed. Suddenly, her face became serious. "Hinata-chan will be there, just so you're warned," she told him.
Neji inhaled sharply, but quickly regained control of himself. "It's fine," he muttered, "as long as she doesn't' bring Hanabi-sama with her." Tenten smiled again, but this time it was an evil smile. Neji didn't like it one bit.
"Good! But one thing… Can I do your hair?" Again, she flashed the evil smile.
Neji paled considerably, shaking his head. The bun-haired kunoichi next to him scowled. "I have Hinata-chan's phone number," she threatened. Neji squeaked and bowed his head in submission.
Pulling her prisoner into the bedroom – where all her hair accessories were – Tenten sad behind Neji on the bed and braided his hair She loved the way his silky locks slipped through her fingers, and had to resist the temptation of burying her face in his hair.
In the end, Tenten decided to plait Neji's hair and tie it with a black ribbon. She snapped a picture and dragged him to the chosen restaurant to meet the other girls. Neji groaned. Oh, boy.
A unified squeal arose from the female ninja sitting around the table in a booth. A pink-haired girl leapt up and hugged Tenten, gazing at Neji.
"KAWAII, Tenten!" Sakura cried. Neji rolled his eyes. It was just his hair, for goodness' sakes. Blond hair whirled as Ino turned and smirked at him.
"Oi, Tenten! How'd you get him to sit still?" she demanded.
"I threatened to ask Hinata-chan to bring Hanabi-san, that's all," Tenten explained nonchalantly, shrugging. Neji winced. "It's better than returning to find him impaled with weapons," she added. "The last time I let somebody stay at my house without me…" She shuddered, and both of the other girls along with her. Neji wondered what had happened to the unfortunate person.
"So… Why is Neji staying over at your house?" Ino inquired. Tenten laughed softly.
"Apparently, Hinata-chan has Hanabi-san after his blood, and I couldn't' just leave my teammate to her, now could I?" she replied lightly. "By the way, where is Hinata-chan?"
Ino and Sakura exchanged amused glances. "Well, right now she's coaching Hanabi on ways to kill Neji here," the emerald-eyed ninja confided. Neji tried to bolt, but Tenten calmly held him down, forcing him to sit.
"Don't worry; she'll never find you here," Ino assured the sweating ninja, who immediately exhaled in relief. Then he tried to act as if nothing had happened. Ino and Sakura rolled their eyes, and Tenten giggled behind her hand.
They quickly finished their meal and tried to decide what to do next. At last, Sakura suggested a movie, and they all agreed. (Neji was told that he didn't count when he protested.)
"What should we see…?" Ino mused as they pored over the selections. Tenten wanted to see an educational feature about some of the more exotic bladed weapons a ninja could use; Sakura wanted to see a romance, and Ino agreed with her pink-haired rival. Sighing and dragging her feet, Tenten followed them in, with Neji trailing behind.
"It's too bad that Hinata-chan isn't here; she wanted to see this one so badly," Sakura murmured thoughtfully.
Tenten laughed quietly. "But now she has an excuse to watch it with Naruto!" she answered.
Neji stiffened, and suddenly the kunoichi remembered that he was present. Tenten laughed nervously, sweat beading on her forehead.
"Heh heh! Never mind about that… Oh, look! The movie's starting!" And indeed it was. Thankfully, it was stupid enough to erase Tenten's slip of tongue from Neji's mind. Unfortunately, it was way underrated, and left the poor Hyuuga's mind forever scarred. Sakura and Ino sighed blissfully, but Tenten just sat sullenly in her seat, fingering her hidden kunai while glaring at the couple in the seat in front of her. If what they were doing was in the movie, it would be rated XXX, which was far more than the actual rating was.
Finally the credits began rolling across the screen. Tenten immediately stood up and put away her kunai.
"Let's go," she said quietly; then she stalked out of the theater. Neji followed silently. The two remaining kunoichi exchanged glances and hurried after them.
"Let's see it again!" Ino suggested, but quickly took it back at Tenten's murderous glare.
"Why not, Tenten?" Sakura whined. Tenten turned away with a worried look on her face. She huddled closer to her friends and whispered to them.
"We are not letting Hinata see that," she told them fiercely. Ino and Sakura giggled evilly.
"At least, not without Naruto," the blond girl replied softly. Tenten growled but said nothing.
"Don't worry, Tenten," Sakura added. "Naruto's such an idiot that he wouldn't try anything; not like them." She gestured with her chin at the people at whom Tenten had been glaring.
Tenten shuddered. "I should hope not. If he does…" She cracked her knuckles, startling Neji (though he, being a Hyuuga, did not show it).
"If he does, then we'll all get him," Ino laughed. Neji was confused, but he wisely decided not to say anything.
"Anyways," Sakura put in, "I want to see another romance!" Ino agreed. When Tenten protested, they both pouted and gave her puppy eyes. Neji rolled his eyes (can he even do that?) and shook his head.
Tenten scowled. "Fine then! You go see it! We're going home!" With that, she grabbed Neji's arm and dragged him outside. Without a word, she immediately set off and Neji was forced to follow.
The instant they stepped inside the door, Tenten threw herself down onto the couch and moaned, "My eyes…. My eyes are scarred forever!"
Neji's lip quivered, amused. "And how do you think I feel?" he asked. Tenten's head shot up; her "scarred" eyes widened as she remembered he was there.
"Oh. I'm sorry, Neji-kun. Heh heh…" Shrugging, the bun-haired girl gestured behind her. "Um… Bathroom's down there. Don't touch anything except the red toothbrush and toothpaste. Everything else is booby trapped."
Neji sweatdropped. "And why…?"
Tenten smiled cheerfully. "Just to keep me on my toes," she replied. "Do you have any other clothes?"
When Neji shook his head, she clapped her hands and laughed. "Then you can borrow some of mine!" Running over to her closet and pulling it open, she gave him two choices. "Red or black?"
"Black, I guess…" Red or black? That's just sad. Neji's thoughts were broken off as a pair of pants and a shirt were shoved into his arms. Tenten grinned sheepishly.
"Sorry. I don't have a large variety of colors in my wardrobe at the moment," she told him apologetically. "And about those clothes… The pants are not too girly, but the shirt…" It was Chinese style – completely girlish.
"It's okay," Neji answered, staring at the clothes. Black… He handed the shirt back, then slipped into the bathroom.
When he came out, he found Tenten spreading a thin blanket on the couch. "Am I sleeping there?" he asked. I'll freeze! he wanted to add, but his Hyuuga pride would not allow it. Darn his pride.
Tenten laughed. "No, of course not! You're the guest! I'll sleep here, and you take the bed. Be careful, though. The whole room's booby trapped," she warned him.
Neji stared. She only shrugged and added, "I've learned to wake up quickly in the mornings." Come to think of it, she was always the first one up on missions, no matter what the conditions.
The chocolate-haired young man blinked. "I can't use your bed! I'll sleep on the couch. You can have the bed," he told her. He'd freeze…
Tenten crossed her arms stubbornly over her stomach. "No way! That'd be rude! You're sleeping on the bed no matter what! This couch is rigged so that there's only one way you can sleep on it. If you move, you'll be impaled." Neji shivered.
"Fine then! I'll sleep on the bed! But you'll be freezing! Here – I'll take half of the bed and you use the other half," he muttered. "I'm not sleeping otherwise. I'll just go stand outside."
Tenten scowled but reluctantly agreed, wanting to say "Nothing funny," but this was Hyuuga Neji. (Duh, earth to Tenten!) He wasn't the type. She strode into the bathroom and changed. When she stepped out, her hair was down over her shoulders. Her shirt was open at the back so she wouldn't be constricted during the night.
"Do you need the bathroom anymore?" she asked. When Neji shook his head, she reached out and pulled a shuriken from its crack, jamming it into another spot in the wall. Something clicked, and a glitter from inside the darkened room could be seen. "Now the bathroom is booby trapped," Tenten announced. "I suggest that you just lie still for the whole night."
Neji paled. Oh. My. God. This girl is crazy! It's like she's trying to impale herself! Just before he sat down on the edge of the bed, Tenten flung out an arm to stop him.
"Wait! The bed is also booby trapped during the day!" Neji sweatdropped.
"How do you stay alive?" he demanded. Tenten smirked.
"Oh, you learn after being stuck full of weapons a couple of times," she answered. "Sometimes the girls and I stay here all night and see who can avoid all of the traps the longest. I usually win." Pushing down on a spot in the corner of her bed, Tenten jumped back as hidden weapons flew all over the room.
"Just so you're warned, I roll over every morning and hit a wake-up call. I advise you to look out or find a way to stop me; I use my sharpest needles in the morning," she chirped, yawning. "Well, I think that's it. G'night, Neji-kun." She climbed in under the covers, then recoiled, rummaging under the black (black!) sheets.
"Oh yeah. Watch out for my spare knives." She held a long dagger between her thing fingers. Neji paled and sweatdropped (he does that a lot, doesn't he?). He gingerly laid down and closed his eyes.
Tenten lay dead still next to him, already fast asleep. The Hyuuga watched her chest rise and fall as she breathed. Why? Because he had nothing better to do. He could have tried for the window, but it was closed and he was willing to bed his pretty lavender eyes that it was booby trapped as well.
A wisp of the kunoichi's dark hair landed on Neji's opened palm. He rolled onto his side and swirled it around with a finger. Closing his hand, he tugged gently on the strand, and Tenten's head tipped towards him. More silky strands scattered themselves on the bed.
Neji amused himself by playing with his teammate's hair until his eyelids fluttered and finally closed. He was asleep. (Gasp!)
The next morning, Tenten tried to roll over and release the shower of needles, but something held her. Instinctively, she woke up, blinking the sleep quickly out of her charcoal eyes. Neji lay beside her, and the kunoichi relaxed in relief. I'd forgotten he was here. But why can't I move?
Suddenly, she inhaled sharply, realizing with shock their positions. She was in her customary sleeping position, but her head had flopped over towards Neji. He was on his side with his face to her, and clenched tightly in his right hand was some of Tenten's hair. His left arm had somehow ended up hanging loosely over her waist, and his legs were tangled so closely with her that she had to move them to see which ones belonged to her.
Tenten's face flamed. Oh, how she wished she could hit the needle shower's release button; but her guest's strong limbs kept her from moving around too much. Tenten considered waking Neji up, but he looked so peaceful that she decided not to disturb him.
Turning so that her back was to the sleeping Hyuuga, the dark-haired girl tried to think. But Neji was so close that it was all she could do to keep her mind from being taken over by fuzziness. With an effort, she made her thoughts stay blank. She was so tired that she soon fell asleep again.
A tickling sensation woke Tenten once more. Opening her eyes, she realized that she had forgotten to set the wake-up call the night before. Before she could slap her forehead, Neji moved.
Tenten had not realized that he had been up, but stayed still to make sure that he was awake, so if he was moving in his sleep, she wouldn't wake him.
To the weaponsmistress's shock, he trailed a slender finger down her spine through the open back of her night shirt. The usually emotionless young man smiled happily and snuggled closer to his teammate, closing his eyes. Which flew open again the instant Tenten spoke.
"N-neji?" Tenten turned onto her stomach and stared worriedly at the chocolately-haired ninja beside her. "A-are you feeling all right?"
Neji smirked. "You sound like Hinata-sama. When she's not yelling at me, that is," he added thoughtfully. Tenten laughed weakly.
"If you're really okay, the why were you…?" she trailed off, shivering as Neji smirked again.
"Your skin looks so soft… I just wanted to see if it felt like that, too," he explained, shrugging. Tenten blushed.
"So is it?" she asked curiously. She didn't think her skin was particularly soft. But apparently Neji had a different opinion.
He buried his face in her back. "Yes," he murmured, his voice muffled by her body. "Very soft." Tenten squeaked.
"N-neji…" She gently pushed his head off of her and sat up against the head of the bed, swiftly catching the kunai that rushed at her and tossing them to the ground with a clatter. He sat up also and laid his head on her shoulder.
"You smell, too… like strawberries…" Tenten started to edge away from him, but he reached a tanned arm out and held her to his side. Slowly, he lowered his mouth to her neck and sucked on the soft skin. When he pulled away, he left a red mark.
"Neji!" Tenten began, but was cut off when Neji covered her lips with is. At first, she struggled against him, but as she ran out of air, she surrendered and allowed him to enter her mouth. His tongue gently explored around inside her, darting in and out. Tenten suppressed a moan.
Just before she passed out, Neji pulled back and oxygen revived her brain. He just smiled smugly as she gaped at him.
"Yup," he said. "Strawberry."
Yawning, Tenten's teammate stood, stretched, and said, "I'm going to use your bathroom. Can you un-rig it for me?"
Tenten nodded and unlatched the switch by replacing the shuriken that she had moved the night before. A clanging sound rang out, and Tenten pointed. "Here you go. Take a shower; only touch the soap and one towel."
With Neji safely in the room, Tenten waited for a few minutes, then took off her night clothes and began to dress in her normal clothes. As she slipped her shirt over her head, a sound behind her caused her to turn with a kunai in hand.
A very tomato-colored Hyuuga Neji stood in the doorway, his damp hair flung over his shoulder. Tenten stepped back, frowning.
"N-neji-kun… How did you… finish you shower…" At Neji's confused gaze, she shook her head. "Oh, never mind."
The young man returned to his normal color. "Well, I'll be going now… Ah, Tenten! Do me and – yourself – a favor and stop rigging this place!" he ordered.
Tenten smirked. "Will you come over again?" Neji sighed and promised. She leapt on him, pushing him down onto the couch and then immediately pulling him back up again as the hidden traps sprang.
"Start unrigging this place now!" He pointed sternly at the couch, then turned.
Before he could step out, she stopped him again. "Oh, um… Neji-kun… When you came out of the shower… How long were you there?"
Neji smirked and for some reason, Tenten blushed. "Long enough."
Tenten's yells were heard all over Konoha that day, and a certain Hyuuga was seen meekly crawling away from her house, pale and sweating.
Isn't it strange? I'm strange…