Title: Team Gai: Chronicles
Pairing(s): Neji/Tenten/Lee, other pairings implied
Warning(s): spoilers for timeskip, sexual situations, threesome
Genre(s): Drama, Humor, Romance
Rating: M
Word Length: 17,880 ish
Description: Tenten, Lee, and Neji start out like most teammates; over years of teamwork, bonds are made and bonds are tested—it is the life of a shinobi.

Part 1: Genin

Tenten supposed Team Gai started out much like any other: two shinobi and a kunoichi grouped by individual abilities to learn to function as a unit.

She hadn't expected to be teamed with Hyuuga Neji and Rock Lee, although the three of them got used to each other quickly enough, even if they hadn't exactly liked each other to begin with. Lee could be embarrassing, and Neji could be imperious, but at least they were consistent—Tenten discovered she could count on Lee's foolhardy energy and Neji's effortless poise as much as they counted on her accuracy. Within the first year Tenten found she had little to complain about her assigned teammates, and was impressed by what they could accomplish together under the mentorship of Maito Gai, despite their flaws and differences.

Neji was the most elusive of her teammates, polite for the most part and yet somehow just beyond everyone's reach. Tenten suspected it was either his Hyuuga heritage, or the glamour of the title Number One Rookie that created the gap, though some of the time she suspected Neji removed himself—far more than the rest of them, he had a habit of remaining apart and keeping his distance, preserving his position in an orbit just outside the scope of theirs.

Lee was oblivious of such boundaries, striving every day of his life to prove the impossible and erase the line in the dirt that tried to strike through his biggest dream. Lee was the one who got in Neji's face and challenged him outright, refusing to let Neji stay up on that pedestal, determined to either pull him off or climb up there beside him no matter how many times he failed to do either—and with this attitude he grew stronger right before their eyes.

Lee wasn't shy about hard work, and Tenten enjoyed their companionable exchange of tips and tricks when the two of them were paired for morning exercise. Neji hardly needed help from either of them, so it was Lee who critiqued her taijutsu forms and made her keep pushing herself, while she adjusted his grip on shuriken or senbon and guided his follow-through until he could keep up with her and Neji during target practice. Soon, people were drawn to Lee just as they were to Neji, only fighting with Lee could land you a friend for life—his smile could make you feel like the only person that mattered in the entire world.

For Tenten, Lee was the one who made her believe she wasn't just the third member of the team, and so she was surprised when a deeper bond developed first between her and Neji.

The Genin years were some of the hardest for Team Gai. Tenten remembered waking in the hospital a scant twenty hours after her fight with the Sand Kunoichi, a woman she'd alternately fear and admire for the rest of her life. Her spine hadn't been broken—that much she'd known as soon as she woke up in the narrow hospital bed—but the pain had been real enough. She'd turned her head to find a chair beside the bed, half bathed in the yellow beams of midmorning sunlight, the seat dimpled where someone had been sitting not too long before she'd woken up.

"Lee," she'd whispered and smiled, sensing the lingering warmth on the blanket's surface that meant he'd been holding her hand. It was the kind of thing Lee would do, and it made her happy to know he'd been there.

Her memories were thick after falling on Temari's steel fan, but she could remember Lee catching her and holding her safe against his chest, yelling on her behalf even as her body shook in the agony that preceded unconsciousness. In her hospital room, she'd looked at the chair and was certain Lee had been guarding her once more, but she found out later she'd been wrong.

The staff told her about Lee's condition the next morning while they were releasing her with a clean bill of health. She could still picture how the shock of the news made her signature waver and then drop below the line with the X. It stopped altogether with the pen-point kissing the fine print of the forms; she'd set the pen down with a click and had asked to be escorted immediately to his room, hearing but not quite registering the voice of the nurse who said she could stay for exactly five minutes, no more.

Gai-sensei was already inside, slumped over in the only visitor's chair and snoring wildly from the exhaustion that had claimed him against his will. His cheeks were puffy from continuous crying, and Tenten swallowed the lump in her throat before continuing across the room to look upon her teammate. Lee was so still underneath the sheet, draped in white like furniture in a room that's never to be used again, the lights turned off and the doors locked against the weather before the property was abandoned indefinitely.

"Oh Lee," she'd whispered, and the sound of his name had burned in the corners of her eyes. She trembled where she stood until both her knees and her tears hit the floor beside his bed, startled at how much it actually hurt to think of losing him. Or that he'd already been lost.

Who else was going to get in Neji's face and challenge him? Who else was going to need her help during training? Who could possibly replace Lee?

She'd stayed as quiet as she could for the remaining minutes and brushed the hair back from his forehead, relieved that he didn't feel too hot or too cold. She'd been instructed not to touch him anywhere else, and she told herself to be glad he was alive and forced her thoughts away from the terrible possibilities ahead with an effort that only increased the flow of moisture down the curves of her face. When she'd heard the nurse step into the doorway Tenten had gotten to her feet and leaned over Lee's closed mouth—then shifted to the side and kissed him in the space between lips and cheek instead, shocked that the idea had crossed her mind at all.

She'd passed the back of her hand over her eyes and turned around to leave, finding it had been Neji in the doorway instead of the nurse, watching her with interest. Tenten blinked, and clasped her hands in front of her to do something other than just stand there, shy and small, trying to find an explanation; Neji took a step into the room in a manner that was deceptively calm for all the worry she'd discover later.

"You should wait until he's awake, Tenten. He'll appreciate it more." The unusual, yet appealing lilt in his voice made her chuckle and glance down at the floor, and for a single heartbeat she thought maybe they'd be able to pull through, somehow, even though it felt like the end.

Then the nurse peeked into the room to indicate her time was up, and Tenten nodded and made her way back to stand beside Neji. They both looked at Lee, and then at their sensei, knowing inherently that Gai would be there day in and day out until the worst of the danger had passed. When they faced each other, Neji looked into her brown eyes for a careful moment.

"I've reserved the training field," he'd said, and then waited for her to tell him whether she was up for it or not, leaving out how much he needed her to help him train, that he only had one month to master the technique he'd been working on and her skills would be essential in his efforts.

These things she'd realize later, but at the time she'd glanced at the floor and considered the state of her empty apartment while listening to the anguished mumbles accompanying their sensei's snoring. It hadn't taken much thought at all to straighten her shoulders and nod.


She and Neji formed an unspoken routine during the month leading to the Chuunin exam's final matches, different from her experiences training with Lee. Neji taught her to begin each morning with meditation, and from this she also learned where Neji gleaned some of his composure. At midday they'd pause their training to eat the lunches she'd packed, and then they'd finish by facing the sunset and entering the hospital, not a day complete without five minutes beside their sleeping teammate.

Despite the distraction of continuous hard work, it hurt to see Lee so still and silent, so difficult to imagine what would happen when he awoke, and so easy to despair as the days stretched on without any noticeable signs of improvement.

If it weren't for the solid press of Neji's fingers at the small of her back, or the warmth of his unwrapped palm when he reached over and took her hand, Tenten was sure she'd have embarrassed herself by crying every time they stood together at Lee's bed. It became clear that touching her was the only sign of stress Neji allowed himself, the only way he could counter the strain of having half their team in physical or emotional shambles. She hadn't had to watch Lee's body get crushed; Tenten didn't object when the brief moments of physical contact spread throughout the other parts of their day in a language all their own.

They never discussed it, but Tenten knew Neji had also noticed the fresh daffodils left at Lee's bedside, although neither of them was particularly bothered by the gesture. She'd heard that both of Sakura's teammates had virtually disappeared along with their sensei Hatake Kakashi—Tenten wondered how a team could function with such a blatant lack of communication, and it made her consider the strengths of her own team in a new light. As a friend, Tenten couldn't blame Sakura for showing concern over Lee, and hoped that the regular visits helped her pass the time until the month of preparation was over and the main matches were due to begin.

The morning before Neji was to fight in Konoha's stadium, Tenten had met him alongside the river as usual for meditation and a warm-up. His moves by this point were flawless, and afterwards Tenten panted from her efforts and glowed with the pride of helping Neji grow even stronger during such a difficult time for them both. Her weapons lay in a halo of metallic spots with Neji at their center, and she'd openly praised him for not having a single scratch.

"I guess I'll stop the light exercises here…" She'd watched his profile as he turned to regard her over his shoulder. "…And get going."

They never talked about how he'd crossed three steps through the debris to pull her into a silent embrace, two hearts pounding between the press of their bodies before he finally left for the stadium, but Tenten thought she finally understood why Lee had always fought so hard for Neji's acknowledgement.

It was a busy time after Konoha's invasion. Even though Lee was more or less up and around, his spirits were low without being able to train properly and Tenten took her cue from Gai not to push him too hard, while they all traded the responsibility of making sure Lee didn't push himself too hard either. They ate together or went on walks, but it wasn't the same.

She also tried not to worry about Neji—it was clear something had changed in him since his fight with Naruto. He kept even more to himself than usual but… she also sensed his heart was lighter than before, even in the somber aftermath of Sandaime's funeral and the unknown quantity of Lee's possible recovery. Tenten found herself volunteering in the repair efforts with her newfound free time, since Gai was out faithfully serving Konoha by taking as many Jounin-level missions as he could.

The inauguration of a new Hokage—Tenten's personal idol, the Legendary Tsunade—brought Team Gai a new hope for the future. Tenten hadn't felt like part of a team for many weeks, but the announced success of Lee's operation gave Gai-sensei an excuse to throw a big celebration, and Tenten was up most of that night from the relief that her team would stay intact and continue going on missions. The next day she'd practically skipped all the way to the hospital to meet the others for breakfast—the first time they'd all been together since Lee's injury—before Neji accompanied Lee on his morning walk.

No one suspected that Neji would be waylaid by Shikamaru somewhere near the village gates.

The news of Uchiha Sasuke's departure from the village spread quickly once the retrieval team was dispatched. Tenten wasn't surprised Shikamaru had drafted Neji for the rescue mission, and didn't worry about his safety considering there were four other Genin with him, at least at first. She didn't believe Sasuke could elude all five of Shikamaru's team, even though she'd seen Sasuke's match against Gaara and admitted his strength was impressive. She and Lee did their best to cheer Sakura while they waited for their teammates' return, and after dinner Tenten took her to the hot springs for a long soak before walking her home and then returning to her own apartment for the last night of restful sleep she'd have for a while.

The next morning, Tenten found the entire hospital in chaos, and knew exactly what had happened from the moment she'd heard her sensei's reverberating wails.

Tsunade said it was obvious that Lee had left that night on his own, determined to be a part of the mission's success even though he'd just had surgery. But the testimony she overheard from Genma and Raidou about the opponents Neji and Lee would be facing twisted her forebodings into a coil of fear worse than anything she'd ever felt before.

The near-miss with Lee had been bad enough, but this was the first time that Tenten considered what she'd do if she lost both her teammates at once, and it made her restless and paranoid and desperate to get out of the village and track them—she might have slipped out of the hospital that very morning if it hadn't been for Sakura and Gai.

One look at Gai-sensei and she couldn't justify chasing after her teammates—he was worried enough with only two of his dear students gone, and considering his level of skill she could bet it was a harder struggle for him to stay and await their return than it was for her.

And Sakura… Tenten could have kicked herself for being so nonchalant with Sakura the day before, keeping her company and trying to cheer her up. Now she understood why Sakura had been so despondent—she'd probably suspected the dangers lying ahead and was as worried for Naruto as she was for Sasuke, just as Tenten was now worried for both Lee and Neji. She knew the situation wasn't her friend's fault, although she couldn't help the part of her that resented how her teammates were at risk because of one of Sakura's.

She also found the idea of Neji or Lee knocking her unconscious and abandoning the village too absurd to consider, and wondered what it was like to have a selfish teammate like Uchiha Sasuke.

In the end, Gai had retreated to Genma and Raidou's room, and she and Sakura spent the day in the hospital waiting room, silent and brooding and alone despite the other's presence. They didn't bother with their usual friendly chatter, nor did they have the energy or inclination to spar or even repeat their visit to the bathhouse. Vaguely, Tenten wondered how Ino was handling the absence of Shikamaru and Chouji, or if Hinata had been surprised by Kiba's sudden departure while Shino was already out on an away-mission. She never saw the other two even though all four of them had been left behind.

Tenten decided to spend that night in the waiting room, figuring that if something went wrong on the mission the hospital would be the first place to be informed. Sitting near the front windows and ignoring the nurses around her, she'd thought about Neji and wondered if he'd felt like this when both she and Lee had been injured in the preliminary matches, lying unconscious in their hospital rooms. It had to have been him—not Lee, not Gai—that had held her hand while Gai held vigil over Lee on another floor, and she thought she'd give just about anything to be able to hold either of their hands right now.

Exhaustion eventually took its toll, and despite her efforts to stay awake Tenten drifted off long enough for Gai-sensei to be called down from his fellow Jounin's room to take her back to her apartment and tuck her into her own bed, fully clothed. He'd left his turtle to keep her company until she woke up; once Tenten had crawled out of bed and brushed her hair she set out again for the hospital, not bothering to eat or change clothes.

She did add more weapons and scrolls to her holsters, however, comforted by their familiar weight and the lingering smell of her preferred sharpening oil, though her hands were shaking from fatigue and emotion and she knew her aim would be off.

When the desk nurses confirmed Neji had been brought in during the night, she closed her eyes with relief. Her spirits plummeted, however, when they told her how he was fighting for his life in emergency ward seven and no one knew his chances of survival. Without any word on Lee yet, Tenten ventured to the other end of the hospital to wait outside Neji's treatment area, turning the corner to see that Hyuuga Hiashi was already seated outside the locked double doors.

Tenten sincerely wished she'd showered and changed before leaving her apartment—seeing Hyuuga Hiashi up close helped her understand where Neji got some of his fastidiousness.

It took determination to ignore the wrinkles in her shirt and the obvious crease on one leg of her pants, but she straightened her shoulders and sat on the bench opposite him anyways, matching his posture and prepared to defend her presence should he try and send her away. He might have thought about it once or twice, she couldn't tell, but mostly they sat in silence, his hands tucked into his sleeves, and hers folded primly in her lap as the hours ticked by.

"TSUNADE-SAMA!" Both of them jerked in their seat when Shizune burst through the doors and ran down the hall away from them shouting for the Hokage, and Tenten felt her blood race from the panic that something had just gone horribly wrong.

Another medic-nin appeared in the doorway moments later to explain to them that Neji had finally stabilized and they were moving him into more comfortable quarters where he'd be monitored closely. The medic-nin also said that no visitors would be permitted until Tsunade-sama gave her permission, and Tenten's heart squirmed into her throat from the surge of desperate emotions caused by these new, sudden pieces of information.

They waited for several more minutes. Tenten stood up at the sound of the Hokage's brisk footsteps that passed them and disappeared through the double doors, and after an interlude that felt longer than all the time she'd been waiting already, Tsunade reappeared and nodded to the head of the Hyuuga clan. Hiashi stood and entered through the open door, and Tsunade remained in the hall to close it behind him. Tenten felt a tear slip over her cheekbone and hastily wiped it away as the Hokage—the Legendary Tsunade—approached her, certain that even after all of this, she'd be sent home without even a glimpse of her teammate. It was confusing to her how badly she needed to see him with her own eyes.

Tsunade placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed with the frankness that came from many years of being a doctor. "Neji's strong. He'll pull through and be good as new. No need to worry." Tenten nodded, and then they turned to the doors and watched Hiashi reemerge with only a minor softening of the shoulders to indicate his relief.

"Thank you, Tsunade-sama," he said, and bent his head to her in solemn gratitude before gliding down the corridor and out of sight.

Tenten watched him go, and when she looked up she found that Tsunade had been studying her. Without a word, Tsunade's hand came around to her back and guided her to the doors. "Go ahead and peek inside, Tenten. But come back in three days; he'll be strong enough to have visitors then."

Tenten eased open the door and peered into the room where she could just make out the brown of Neji's hair while several medic-nin were still fussing at the machines around his bed. She could hardly see any more of him than that, but at least he seemed peaceful; she watched intently as the room was rearranged to better monitor him. Tsunade's hand was warm and gentle when it squeezed, but Tenten knew it meant it was time for her to leave and let them do their jobs, and so she'd closed the door and stepped back, immensely grateful for the brief glimpse.

"We'll take good care of him," the Hokage said, and smiled with a confidence that inspired Tenten to smile back, awed by Tsunade's ability to share her strength with others. The Hokage returned to Neji's room, and Tenten slowly retraced her steps to the lobby, unsure of what to do with herself and feeling a bit mad from all the recent inaction, when someone called out her name.

She swerved to look out across the waiting room, and there was Lee—grinning and waving at her, standing near Gai-sensei who was deep in conversation with someone she couldn't see. The sight of Lee alive and well, even with a bandage taped on his face, was nearly too much, and Tenten sprinted past the nurses at the sign-in desk and grabbed Lee in a big hug that made him stumble backwards. She clung to him for a few, precious seconds as Lee chuckled and hugged her back.

"It's good to see you too, Tenten!"

He was grinning down at her with his white teeth and carefree, adorable face, and she found herself suddenly annoyed. Pissed. How could he stand there and smile after running off and scaring her like that? She grabbed him by the shoulders and shook him hard enough to chatter his teeth.

"Lee! Why did you run off on your own? You are the biggest idiot!" She heard several onlookers gasp at her outburst but didn't ease up until the taped bandage went flying.

"I w-w-was t-trying to help-p-p…" Lee's words came out in a stutter, and Tenten stopped shaking him when it became obvious he was simply going to let her do it until she felt better—typical, selfless Lee. At just that moment, the fact that Lee was standing there in front of her, and both he and Neji had survived, hit home—to her horror her eyes brimmed with tears. She hastily smeared the one that slipped over her cheek, and the room fell silent.

"Neji almost died," she whispered, and she watched Lee's face melt into a deep frown.

"I know," he turned and looked over his shoulder where Tenten could now see it was Shikamaru that was standing in front of Gai-sensei, gesturing with one finger in a splint as he spoke in low tones. He seemed to be near exhaustion.

"We ran into Shikamaru on his way out, and he's been filling us in," Lee said. He nodded at the front desk. "The nurses told us Tsunade-sama is keeping Neji under strict observation for a few days."

Tenten nodded, and Lee curled his fingers into a fist. "Neji will be stronger after this, I know it." He reached out and gripped her arm, "Train with me, Tenten—I want our team to be the strongest one there is!"

Tenten laughed, remembering Neji's version of the same request, and somehow the laughter made even more tears spill over her cheeks. But this time she didn't mind them, since they came from a mixture of relief and hope.

"Okay," she answered, as she'd answered before, and Lee smiled and brushed the tears from her face with gentle fingertips.

They trained in the intensive, physical way that Lee did everything, measuring time by their bodies' fatigue or pangs of hunger. When Neji was awake and able to receive regular visitors, Tenten and Lee would eat their lunch in his room, telling him the news of the village and including him as best they could since Gai was often gone on solo missions.

It felt good to be together, and Tenten noticed that she wasn't the only one allowing their luncheons to carry on as long as possible. She was grateful they were both alive and both getting stronger, both safe in Konoha where she could keep them in her sight at least for part of the day. She could see the same determination and gratitude in the way Lee helped Neji sit up to eat, and the way Neji squeezed her hand in thanks after she'd settled him back into bed and made sure he was comfortable.

She refused to lose either of them again, no matter how strong she had to become.

After a week of these lunchtime visits, Tenten brought a hairbrush with her and tackled the knots in Neji's long hair, knowing from experience how his shoulder injury would prevent him from doing it himself. It didn't take a genius to guess it must have bothered him to have it less than perfect—Tenten could tell that as soon as the nurses were gone, Neji undid the braid they kept giving him to keep his hair under control, but he couldn't get rid of the kinks on his own. The nurses meant well, but she was tired of seeing the sloppy evidence since Neji wouldn't simply tell them he didn't want his hair braided.

Conversation dwindled while Tenten's dainty hands worked the strands into a perfect, smooth sheen down his back. She held her breath when she realized Lee's eyes were transfixed on the steady, back and forth movements of the brush, not aware that Neji's eyes were locked on him. When she'd finished, Neji had turned and thanked her with a gaze that made her belly tighten, and Tenten wondered if somehow that moment, right then, signaled the beginning of something between the three of them other than basic teamwork.

She brought her brush more often after that. It was almost disappointing when Neji had healed enough to do it himself.

In three months, everyone who'd been injured on the failed rescue mission was back in action. Naruto left Konoha with the Sannin Jiraiya, and Tenten accompanied Lee to the village gates along with many of Naruto's friends to see him off, with the obvious exception of Hinata. Sakura had waved and shown a brave face as he disappeared down the road, but Tenten could see that she was more upset than she looked, and so they'd taken her out for lunch. Tenten tried not to feel guilty that both her teammates were strong and healthy and with her at least part of every day, while Sakura's had now both ventured away from the village, and away from her; she and Sakura agreed to train once in a while together.

Neji, always the elusive one, spent part of his recuperation time at the Hyuuga compound, and he began to train regularly with his Uncle, Hyuuga Hiashi. Hyuugas rose early, so Neji would spend the morning learning things that only a Hyuuga can teach another Hyuuga. Most days he'd join them in the afternoon, but there were times he'd stay with his Uncle and they wouldn't see him for a day or two. Tenten didn't mind this; Neji was regaining his confidence and growing at an alarming pace, and it made the times they got to see him all the more special.

She and Lee developed a training schedule of their own, one that pushed them both so they could keep up with Neji. Their regimen allowed for time to work on their individual specialties, but mostly Tenten looked forward to the afternoons when Neji and Gai-sensei joined them for more complex and exhilarating drills and sparring practice, and the balance was back in place—at least for a while.

Part 2: Chuunin

Everything changed the following summer when Neji advanced to Chuunin.

The ranking wasn't important, since she and Lee would become Chuunin in the next exam anyhow. But sometime that summer, when Tenten was having to modify her clothing to accommodate the swell of her hips, as well as get used to how a fuller bust affected her aim, she realized that she wasn't the only one growing up—her height increase was doubled by Neji and Lee, who suddenly towered over her with wider shoulders and corded muscles in a combination that could overload her senses.

Lee was only shorter than Neji by a small increment, and Tenten found herself lost in thought whenever she watched him train, smiling at his tirelessness and appreciating his choice of spandex now that there was more to look at than the loud, annoying boy she'd been teamed with long ago. She looked forward to their time alone and the growing chemistry between them, both when they sparred and afterwards in the silly flirtation that came naturally for Lee. It kept her up at night with longing.

Neji had just turned fifteen, lithe and graceful as ever except for the awkward months in spring when he'd had to consistently relearn the extent of his arms' reach, and therefore the extent of his Hakke Rokujuuyonshou. But even when he faltered, he was beautiful. Tenten wasn't the only one to think so; Neji caught the eye of girls all over the village, packs of them yearning for a date while he remained aloof and passive to the attention, a prime example of a Hyuuga's unflappable calm. In training or in the field, Neji's appeal buzzed around her in a subtle electric undercurrent, almost dismissible until he faced her and the zing of his smirk twitched something behind her navel that human hands couldn't touch.

She spent most of her time that summer trying to decide which teammate she wanted to kiss first, and so she was surprised when the decision was made for her.

While Neji had frequent training sessions with his Uncle when their team wasn't on missions, she and Lee would meet every day at the usual spot. Typically, she'd finish her training long before Lee's muscles tired, but they kept each other company by habit whether Neji or their sensei was there to challenge them. When Lee finally ran out of steam he'd collapse beside her against the base of a tree, and she'd push his damp hair from his forehead and laugh with him until his heart rate had calmed down from frantic jackrabbit leaps to the steady lope of a coyote.

Tenten couldn't say exactly when the ease of their friendship changed into something more, but sitting there at the base of the tree, re-wrapping Lee's hands with fresh bandages while his eyes studied the arch of her brows or the bridge of her nose—she knew she wanted the change more than she feared it.

That afternoon, like many others before it, Lee's eyes brought a flush to her skin, and she held her breath as his half-bandaged hand closed over hers and squeezed just enough to make her look up. There were no cheesy lines or winking hearts; no, none of those for her. For her, Lee simply swallowed his hesitation and kissed her, kissed her with all the devotion she'd expected he was capable of, and a lustfulness she'd never imagined.

The moment was incredible, sweet—she felt like she could drift away on the wind except for his arms pulling her close to keep her grounded. When they were breathless, he rubbed her nose with his and smiled with the full force of youth. She drank in his brightness and then moved closer to kiss him until they were tangled in the grass. It lasted until the growling of their stomachs turned their kissing into laughter, and they walked back to the village hand in hand before they parted ways for the evening.

That night she learned that the longing was worse once you'd had a taste, and she lay in her bed hoping the night would pass quickly so she could do it all again.

The excitement and anticipation of being around Lee the next day consumed her mind, and so she hadn't considered how Neji might react until he arrived at the training field for their afternoon practice, and the enormity of what had happened with Lee the day before sank in. She took care to act naturally, and Lee did the same even though she was aware of his every movement. She didn't think they were suspicious since Gai was drilling them with his usual booming voice and unrepentant enthusiasm, but she was anxious that if Neji or Gai found out they'd somehow disapprove.

She might have been able to ignore the whole issue, except that every time she glanced at Neji to check his reaction, he was watching her. Watching her, watching Lee, and smirking. As she practiced her weapon forms from senbon to Naginata, she could feel his eyes following both of them with typical calculation, but it wasn't until they were standing together watching Gai and Lee practice new combinations that she realized he wasn't watching out of concern or jealousy, but something that she wasn't sure she wanted to name. She didn't dare.

With the others occupied, Neji had reached over and tucked a stray lock of her hair back into its knot, fingers brushing the nape of her neck as lowered back to his side. "Lee has a lot of energy today," he mentioned, and she'd had to look away before agreeing. She knew her cheeks must have flushed when Neji chuckled, and Tenten felt her stomach flip from the interest he was paying her—paying them!—and thought she might die from the suspense.

Even Lee had to feel it, and she tried without success to interpret what he and Neji said to each other later on that caused the former to turn tomato red, and the latter to look away and cross his arms, a hint of pink across his nose and a single brow arched in challenge.

They parted ways as normal, to her severe disappointment.

She'd gotten halfway through her breakfast the next day when there was a knock at the door, and Lee was there in his customary mission gear and knapsack. He'd dropped by to tell her he and Neji were heading to Suna, kissed her thoroughly right there on her doorstep, and then vanished over the neighboring rooftops. She'd grinned in a worthy imitation of Naruto for the rest of the morning, and imagined with great detail what else Lee might do when he got back, and how to make sure he did it a lot. What she hadn't imagined was what he might do while he was away.

A week later Lee and Neji returned, and she and Gai-sensei treated them to dinner to celebrate their return. She couldn't say exactly what had happened, but it was clear to her that Neji and Lee had been intimate during the time they were gone. She knew it from the way Lee's eyes would occasionally drop from Neji's, or how Neji would accidentally brush Lee's arm when reaching across the table for another bite of barbecued pork. It made her squirm in her seat with arousal, feeling the charge between them and knowing exactly what had changed about their rivalry.

Neji tried to tell them about the mission while Lee interrupted as usual, and Tenten tried not to react when both of them shifted in the cramped booth so that her left knee was trapped between theirs in an obvious and very appealing flirtation. It might have gone further than that, if Gai hadn't ordered sake, and Lee hadn't confused the cups and erupted in a drunken frenzy that was the exact opposite of sexy.

They repaired the restaurant over the next days, with few chances at flirtation from the constant supervision, and little energy leftover for attempted secret rendezvous. When their training resumed as normal—or as normal as could be expected with the increased sexual tension—Neji caught her in a rare moment of privacy and pulled her behind a tree as if he simply couldn't wait another minute. Neji's kiss was brief but intense, leaving her knees weak from the full force of his sex appeal. She wondered if it was something she'd get used to from repetition.

"Have me over for dinner," he suggested, and Tenten gripped the front of his shirt and pulled him forward for another kiss in response. When he pulled away she allowed it, and mirrored his smirk with one of her own. He caressed the side of her face.

"I have to stop at home, but I'll pick up food on my way," he stepped back and she dropped to the ground to fiddle with her sandal while Lee and Gai came into view. Neji nodded at her before he took his leave, and Tenten stood for a moment and watched Lee stretching his muscles after running laps with their sensei—and then had a brilliant idea.

She grinned and retrieved all her kunai from the straw target on the other side of the tree, and plopped down on the grass beside Lee. "It's Thursday, so why don't I stay with Lee and stretch, Gai-sensei? Then you can prepare for Kakashi-sensei's challenge."

"You are so thoughtful, Tenten!" Gai got to his feet with youthful vigor. "Today is the day I shall finally beat my eternal rival!"

"Go Gai-sensei!" Lee chimed in, thrusting a fist in the air.

Gai beamed, "Yes! Tenten! Lee!" And then he was gone, and Tenten turned her attention to the teammate beside her. Lee was flushed and sweaty from his run, and he flashed her a happy grin as he stretched his hamstrings. She shifted closer and touched his arm, interrupting him long enough to brush their lips together.

"Come over for dinner, Lee," she offered, and Lee smiled and moved his lips along her cheek to her ear.

"Then I better go shower first," he said, gently nibbling her earlobe.

She sighed as goose bumps spread over her neck, and moved her hand to his thigh, "Or you could shower at my place…"

Lee stilled, then straightened enough to look in her eyes. Tenten blushed and waited for him to answer, heart thudding behind her ribs. He raised both brows to confirm her invitation, and she bit her lip and nodded, and watched in awe as his face split into an impossibly wide grin as if he'd just been given permission to use the Lotus.

The next thing she knew they were darting across Konoha by roofline at top speed—or rather Lee was darting at top speed, and she was clinging to his hand to try and keep up.

The mad flight to her apartment came to a stop long enough for her to open her door, and then they were inside and kissing and stumbling through the kitchenette into her bedroom. Tenten was surprised she managed to get them into her bathroom without knocking over anything important. She started the shower and let it warm up, while she and Lee stripped off their clothing and then hopped in. Only when the shower door had closed behind them did they slow down, face to face and naked, grinning and blushing and suddenly shy.

Lee slid his arms around her and drew her in for a kiss, turning them around so that warm water hit the nape of her neck and slid down her body. His hands followed the stream of water down her spine, curving over her rear and pulling her tight against him to close the gap between their bodies. Tenten slid her hands around his back, palms and fingertips exploring the cords of muscles that covered him from shoulders to hips, amazed at the strength lying ready just under the surface.

Lee reached to her hair and she showed him with her hands how the coils came undone, and then tilted her head back into the shower spray to wet it. The water felt good, changing the color from brown to mahogany and weighing it down to waist level. She changed their positions so that Lee could wet the rest of his short hair, watching how his muscles moved under his skin until she sensed movement from the corner of her eye.

She whirled around at the sound of the shower door being opened, reached automatically for her kunai holster and had a moment of panic at its absence before the intruder stepped into the shower and she found herself almost nose-to-chest with a very naked Hyuuga Neji.

She backed up into Lee so that she could read Neji's expression, and then looked over her shoulder to see practically the same smirk on Lee's face. Tenten grinned, and bit her lip from the way they sized each other up and realized how she'd manipulated them, while Lee shifted his hands to slide over the wet skin of her belly. But it was really she who had been outwitted.

Neji tossed his head to move his unbound hair further out of his face, but stepped closer and let some of the water spread over his chest and neck. "I told you not to hog her, Lee."

"What took you so long, then?" Lee countered, resting his chin on the top of her head in a playful taunt.

Tenten tried to look innocent when Neji's eyes locked with hers, but she found it hard to find an excuse for the party of three—she found it hard to think of anything coherent at all with two nude shinobi pressing in against her—and gave up searching altogether when Neji's hands slid into her wet hair.

What could she possibly say when Hyuuga Neji was naked into her shower and looking her over with those eyes?

Neji didn't let her worry about it too long; he bent his head and kissed her with the same intensity of that afternoon, long and slow and possessive. She was grateful for Lee at her back, his hands stroking along the curves of her hips and helping her remain upright from the sudden knowledge that she was here with both of them. She shuddered from the way things low in her body responded to that idea, a craving beyond any desire she'd ever experienced before.

She slid her hands over Neji's collarbones, moaning at the idea that Lee might already know what their teammate felt like. Lee's fingers dug into her skin while he watched them kiss, and she tilted her hips backward to grind against him. Lee groaned through his teeth and Neji pressed into her even closer, and Tenten tightened her fingers in Neji's hair and whimpered into the kiss from the unmistakable feel of both her teammate's erections—hard, throbbing against her.

She broke away to catch her breath, and Neji chuckled and stroked her neck. "Is this what you wanted?"

"Yes!" both she and Lee answered him in unison, and then they all laughed, Lee reaching to try and hug them both at the same time and blocking all the water. Still giggling, Tenten moved carefully so that Neji could wet the rest of his hair. She watched it stick to his back in a wet mass that reached all the way to his tailbone, and she stroked her fingers through it to make patterns on his pale skin.

Then Lee began to kiss him, and Tenten watched—aroused; fascinated—as they moved against each other in a way that left no doubt in her mind it wasn't the first time they'd tried it. Lee had his eyes closed, but he groped for her hand and then reached around Neji to pass her the shampoo bottle. She grinned and took his lead, pouring a healthy amount into her hands and working Neji's hair into a rich lather.

Whatever awkwardness there might have been was rubbed away with soapy hands. The water ran cold before they tired of their explorations, and soon they moved into the bedroom to finish what had been started with mouths and hands and shared body heat until they were spent from pleasure and the sun had nearly gone down.

It was nothing like her kunoichi training. It would be another eighteen months before she'd comprehend the difference between being with Neji and Lee, and the occasional demands upper-level missions put on sixteen year old girls.

But that first time, she knew nothing more than the physical enjoyment she could have with the two she cared about most, and the three of them lay in a quiet heap on top of her sheets with Lee burrowed safely in a nest of their half-damp hair. Neji reached across their teammate to curl and uncurl a lock of her hair around his finger, face serene as he watched them both. It lasted until Neji had to go back to the Hyuuga compound to make his curfew, though he stayed long enough to eat some of the food he'd brought for dinner before kissing them goodbye.

Lee brought the food the next night, and a new routine fell into place.

Over the next months, Tenten learned that Neji wasn't shy about anything, except for the two scars on his body from the Sound ninja's arrows. He had nipples nearly as sensitive as hers, and would squirm in pleasure at the slightest hint of teeth—she and Lee found more than one way to coordinate their mouths to make their stoic teammate cry out during orgasm, and took great pride in their newfound ability to coax wanton noises from lips that were habitually sealed.

She learned that Lee really did have the most stamina, and shared many conspiratorial smiles with Neji during the day as they watched Lee train—it took both of them to tire him out into a boneless puddle of grinning joy, but it was worth it to have him lie still in bed with them afterwards for a few minutes of tangled-up bliss before Neji inevitably had to return to his home.

Tenten also learned that having two genius lovers could be dangerous for one's sanity. Neji's eyes could reveal all her secrets in a single glance, allowing him to find and access all the hidden places that could make her writhe—the inside of her wrist; the edge of her hipbone; the arch of her feet—until she pleaded for release. Lee showed her how certain positions could bring her to orgasm in a flash or in an hour, depending on her mood, or his mercy, or Neji's whim.

Lee often joked that sex with them was his favorite kind of training. Neji smiled and laughed more when he was with them, even occasionally in public.

She'd never been happier in her whole life.

As time went by Lee hardly slept in his own apartment anymore, preferring to stay snuggled up with her for the hours that Neji wasn't with them. Neji was a Hyuuga, so it was expected for him to spend his nights within the Hyuuga complex. On away missions Lee graciously gave up his spot and shared their sensei's tent so that Neji and Tenten could have some time alone, but Tenten wished there were more chances for the three of them to spend the whole night together.

She anticipated those nights the most, the ones where the three of them were out of the village and able to stay at an Inn without a chaperone. They had to rent two rooms for the sake of appearances even if one wouldn't be used, but the chance to spend a whole night in bed with both her teammates—sex or no sex—was worth the two hours she'd have to spend setting traps and alarms to make it possible. Still, she found it selfishly luxurious to fall asleep listening to her teammates' breathing, and feeling their heartbeats where their bodies touched.

The worst nights were the ones when she was away on a mission without them, or they were away on a mission without her. It didn't happen often, but Tenten learned that an empty bed was the hardest kind to sleep in. She didn't know how Neji could stand it.

Back in Konoha, Neji joined them in her apartment for breakfast whenever he could before they headed to the mission room or the training field to meet their sensei—sometimes having to run to make up for their early morning distractions. The evenings, however, were theirs.

If Gai-sensei noticed a change as summer gave way to fall, it was only visible in their successful completion of missions, and the ease in which they developed team-based techniques; Lee and Tenten passed the next Chuunin exam with flying colors. As individuals their training became more productive now that their hormones had an outlet, and they were able to study and focus at a level far beyond their own expectations. Gai couldn't have been prouder when they were selected along with five other teams to accompany Konoha's ambassador to the hidden village of Sand for the inauguration of the new Kazekage. It was a welcome change in climate, as winter had just settled into Fire Country.

They had only a minor role in the whole event, although both Lee's friendship with Gaara, and the proximity of his birthday combined to make their one night in Suna unforgettable—leave it to Neji to figure out a way around Lee's issue with alcohol. Thankfully the only thing broken during their first bonafide sex-marathon was easily replaceable, although somehow the clever Temari guessed what had gone on, and to Tenten's utter embarrassment would tease her about it for the next two years whenever they crossed paths.

Another year went by, Neji advanced to Jounin, and Tenten moved into a bigger apartment to accommodate their lifestyle. Not only was a larger bed called for, but having more space in the kitchen and bathroom came in handy considering the amount of time Lee and Neji spent with her. The addition of a proper bathtub made things delightfully interesting, as well as having a closet that could hold the guys' extra clothing and training gear—sometimes there just wasn't time for them to return to their own places before having to answer an urgent summons to the Hokage's office.

Tenten was so busy with her teammates that she hardly ever saw Sakura, even though not so long ago they'd been occasional sparring buddies. The last time she could remember seeing the other girl outside of the Hokage tower was at the hot springs. Sakura and Ino were already there when she arrived, relaxing with their hair pulled up and bantering as usual. Tenten waved and joined them in the hot water, closing her eyes as she settled herself and happy not to interrupt, when Ino squealed.

"No way! Who gave that to you?"

Tenten cracked her eye open as Ino moved closer, pointing a finger at the red mark on her left breast near her cleavage. Tenten grinned, remembering Neji's smirk after he'd marked her skin, and how Lee had decided it should be bigger and darker, using mouth and teeth to insist on a joint claim. It had faded since then, so she hadn't expected anyone to notice. Still, it wouldn't be fun to answer straight out.

Tenten winked and stuck out her tongue, "Guess!"

Ino giggled and rolled her eyes, rising from the water. "I'll show you mine…" she wheedled, pressing her hand flat over the skin next to her hip bone, near the sensitive line at the top of her thigh. Tenten giggled back at her and shrugged, playing coy for the moment even though she had a pretty good idea who Ino had been fooling around with.

"Everyone knows it's from Chouji, Ino-pig," Sakura taunted from her original spot, and Ino whipped around in protest.

"Sakura!" Ino warned, her body going stiff with annoyance.

"Oh whatever," Sakura waved it off, rising and reaching for her folded white towel, "Shikamaru then. It's the same thing." Sakura wrapped the towel around her body, and Tenten thought for a moment how pretty she was as she stepped out of the onsen and walked around the edge towards the exit.

Ino simply folded her arms under her breasts, an indignant tilt to her blonde head. "Where are you going? I thought we were going shopping after this." Ino was facing away, so Tenten couldn't make out the mark she'd been hiding, but she stifled a giggle to see a second mark on Ino's right butt cheek, pink on her rosy skin and outlined with teeth marks.

"Sorry, I forgot I was going to help Shizune," Sakura made an attempt at laughter, and scratched the back of her head. "Let's go another day."

"Okay, but don't blame me if they sell out of the skirts you like, Forehead-girl."

Sakura shrugged, her smile drooping though her eyes remained sharp. "See you later, Ino-pig." She turned to Tenten, green eyes meeting hers with a knowing gleam. "Say hello to Lee for me, Tenten."

"I will! See you later, Sakura." Tenten waved, and Sakura disappeared back into the changing rooms. When she was gone, Tenten bit her lip; it wasn't like Sakura be so edgy, and it reminded her of that dreadful day they'd waited together at the hospital for their teammates to return, dead or alive. She wondered if anyone had heard from Naruto since he was due back to the village soon.

When the door closed behind Sakura, Ino made a noise of annoyance and sighed, then turned and faced Tenten with a wicked smirk. Tenten kept completely still as Ino stalked through the water towards her and leaned over, brushing a single fingertip across the mark on Tenten's chest.

"Rock Lee, huh… And what about Neji?" Ino flashed her a dazzling smile, and they both giggled.

Tenten reached forward and gently scraped the edge of her fingernail over the mark Ino had been hiding on her hip. "If this was Chouji…" Tenten moved her hand towards the other girl's butt. "Then this was Shikamaru?"

Ino grabbed Tenten's wrist in a flash, her cheeks flushing pink before she sank back into the water and the both of them giggled until their stomach muscles hurt. They didn't even need to say another word; it was a good feeling to know she wasn't the only one involved with both her teammates, and happily, too.

The next time Tenten saw Sakura was in River Country. Their team had really been heading to Suna, which always put Lee in rare form: teasing her about needing more "training" and making Neji roll his eyes, even though they had nothing but fond memories of Gaara's hospitality. Their path had been rerouted by Kakashi's nin-dog Pakkun, however, and there at the Akatsuki lair Team Gai joined forces with the newly reinstated Team 7.

From the first glimpse Tenten could tell Sakura was different—so vibrant!—and the change made her smile with relief. Then she noticed Naruto and her jaw had dropped from the shock at how much he'd grown up—Tenten grinned to see how both Neji and Lee were overjoyed to see him again after such a long absence, expressed in their typically opposite manners.

With all the difficulties of that mission, there hadn't been time to socialize until after Gaara had been rescued and the two Leaf teams rested briefly before heading back home. All Sakura could talk about was Naruto, and Tenten smiled and listened to it all, so glad to see her friend in such high spirits. There was just something about Naruto that made people happy.

Tenten endured Temari's teasing before they left, knowing it meant that the Sand kunoichi was beginning to recover from nearly losing both her brothers to the Akatsuki. And anyways, Tenten knew they hadn't been loud enough this time for anyone to hear.

To her relief and embarrassment, the spectacle of that visit came from Gai-sensei's youthful display with Kakashi-sensei—confirming her suspicions as to what the two men's regular challenges and meetings were all about. And leave it to Lee to follow in their sensei's footsteps; she couldn't help but love the way Lee and Neji pushed each other's buttons.

Tenten amused herself on the trip back to Konoha by calculating how hard it would be to coerce piggy-back rides from both of them

Part 3: Jounin

Tenten watched from the bed as Lee kissed Neji goodnight and closed the door after him, then padded back across the apartment, nude. She rolled over to make room, and Lee slipped his arm around her, the June evening too warm for even the sheet. Summer was her favorite time of year, ever since the summer both Neji and Lee had survived, and the summer that they'd all become lovers.

She smiled, and stroked Lee's face with nostalgia—he was no longer the boy she'd been teamed with, nor the young man she'd brought to her bed not quite three years ago.

Lee turned his head and kissed her palm. "Tenten."

"Hm?" She watched his thoughtful expression shift into a frown.

"Have you noticed anything…different? With Neji?"

"No…" her eyes narrowed. "Well…what do you mean?"

Lee shrugged, and shifted onto his back, hands tucked under his head. "Nothing, really."

Tenten propped herself up on her elbows so she could see him better. "He's taken a few ANBU missions as an unofficial member, which is unusual I guess… but it's not a secret from us or Gai-sensei."

"I know," Lee stared at the ceiling.

Tenten thought over the last months. Their schedules were busy now that they were all Jounin, and they had less time to be together than any of them liked. Neji had almost no time to spare with his skills in such high demand, and also the more complex, mysterious responsibilities to his clan.

"I miss him too," she confided, trying to guess Lee's line of thinking.

"Yeah," Lee gave her a half smile, then rolled over and kissed her. They didn't talk about it after that, simply curled up and went to sleep. But Tenten was aware of how many nights stretched behind them without Neji, and wondered how many more were ahead.

The next day seemed normal until Neji arrived at her apartment, and Tenten could see the signs of stress around the inside corners of his eyes. It melted away as soon as he'd set down his pack and pulled her into a lingering embrace, and she let the warmth of his body chase the last of her worry away, snug within the circle of his billowy sleeves. The moment lasted a long while, and then he scooped her off her feet; she laughed as he carried her into the bedroom, deposited her onto the mattress, and threw off his shirt and undershirt before crawling on top of her.

He kissed her with typical, silent passion and she wrapped her legs around him and gave in to the rush; the sounds of the shower stopped in the bathroom next door to signal the imminent arrival of a wet and naked Lee. Her heart sped up in anticipation, and she sank her fingers into Neji's hair until something unexpected jolted both of them with a loud smack.

Neji looked at her, panting, then turned to look over his shoulder. "Did… did you just spank me? Lee?"

Tenten moved her head to see Lee, grinning from ear to ear, and wearing only a towel—a towel that had a distinctive bulge underneath it. "Yep!"

Neji flashed one of his devastating smirks before pouncing, grappling and pinning Lee to the ground within minutes. Tenten crawled to the end of the bed and peered over the edge, knowing full well that Lee didn't stand a chance when Neji was kissing him like that, and especially not when Neji transferred his mouth down to Lee's cock. Tenten grinned, never tired of watching the two of them go at it no matter which way it happened.

She undid her hair and started taking off her own clothes, enjoying the sight of Lee squirming on the floor with his eyes screwed tight in a grimace of ecstasy from Neji's precise attentions. She shrugged the shirt from her shoulders, and then slid an impatient hand below the hem of her pants and in between her thighs to simulate Neji's pace, groaning along with Lee as Neji slowed to a point that was only more and more frustrating.

Neji stopped and eyed Lee's flushed cheeks with satisfaction, then turned to her and licked his lips in coy suggestion. They were swollen with a hint of pink from both the kissing and the suction, and Tenten felt herself moistening even further when Neji pulled her hand from between her legs and licked her fingers clean.

"Oh God…" she began in a weak attempt to express her thorough desire, and she exchanged a helpless look with Lee while Neji continued to treat her fingers as he had treated Lee's cock. Lee laughed and winked at her, and she had a moment to brace herself before he got up from the floor and tackled Neji onto the bed so they could properly fight back.

Between their six hands all clothing was removed in record time. Neji kissed her neck and drew circles around her dark, tightened nipples, then bent to tease them with his tongue exactly the way Lee's tongue was moving over his own chest. Tenten bit her lip against the sound of Neji's ragged breathing, her hands roaming over the parts of Lee she could reach. Neji thrust once against her leg in a way that made her suspect Lee had bitten him harder than usual, and she adjusted her hand to stroke Neji's cock just the way he liked it.

Neji groaned and buried his face between her breasts, clinging to her and moving against her hand. Lee sucked on his nipples until Neji couldn't stand it and twisted towards him so they could exchange a sloppy kiss, Lee shifting until it wasn't quite so awkward. When Neji pulled back they were both breathless, and Tenten heard him whisper against Lee's mouth:

"Fuck me."

She watched as Lee moved back enough to lock eyes with Neji for a long moment, but then he smiled and kissed Neji's lips before moving to the bedside cabinet where they kept the lube.

Neji returned his attention to her, nibbling the soft skin underneath her collarbones on his way down to her nipples, swirling his tongue around each peak until she could hardly bear it. They shifted to allow Lee access to Neji's cock, and Neji continued kissing his way down the front of her body. Tenten stroked her hands through Neji's silky hair as he widened her legs, and then put his mouth to work on her most sensitive spots until her eyes screwed tight by themselves—she had no better chance of resisting than Lee.

She knew when Lee's mouth and throat slid down over Neji's erection because Neji drove his tongue deep inside her before returning his attention to her swollen clit. She bucked against him despite trying to keep still, and Neji didn't let up his assault until she'd made fists in his hair, and clamped her thighs against her own wrists to keep from smothering him as her first orgasm crashed over her. He didn't stop when her muscles relaxed, continuing to lick her folds until she tensed and cried out a second time.

Tenten moved her legs and shifted down the bed both to kiss him and to taste herself on his lips and inside his mouth, the taste of them. She held Neji close while Lee continued to stretch him, smiling at how he writhed every time Lee rubbed his prostate. Lee gave Neji a last, lingering suck that bowed his back off the mattress before moving behind him and kissing Neji's ear, spooning against his back while they lay on their sides.

Neji twisted his neck to kiss Lee in a wild urgency, and Tenten sat up and took the bottle of lube from Lee's hand to squeeze some into her palm. She smoothed it over Lee's erection and stroked him while he and Neji kissed, and then Lee lifted Neji's thigh to ease inside him as gently as possible. Neji pulled her back down to the bed and pressed his forehead into the crook of her neck, panting with arousal as Lee entered him. Lee groaned and began to thrust forward and back, forward and back, both of them rocking into her.

Neji reached to her thigh and pulled her closer so she was on her side, and she moved lower on the mattress automatically to align their hips. She curled her leg over both of their torsos, and Lee paused his movements and offered his elbow as leverage so she could angle herself to ease Neji's cock into her body. When they were joined, Neji gave an experimental thrust that made all three of them moan.

Lee began to thrust again, and she rocked her hips to meet him—the combination of the two made Neji hiss through his teeth in pleasure. Tenten felt Neji cling to her with one arm, the other arm hooked backward so he could try to pull Lee harder against him. Lee gripped her leg behind the knee and moved a degree faster, and Tenten shivered at the sounds of Neji whispering the word Yes over and over again, pulling her tighter and tighter against him in a need that went far beyond desperate.

She gasped at the intensity of his voice, ragged and breathy and whimpering for more. Tenten groaned Lee's name and reached for his hand, and together they moved to bring all of them right to the edge—Neji threw his head back and climaxed with the intensity of his Kaiten when Tenten's body tightened in small spasms with just the right friction. Lee thrust twice more into Neji before he tensed and cried out, panting hot breaths against the back of Neji's neck. They all relaxed their limbs and lay in a boneless, tangled heap.

Nobody moved until their breathing returned to normal; Tenten smiled against Neji's chest, kissing his smooth skin and tasting salty sweat. He stroked her unbound hair and sighed with satisfaction as Lee's arms curved around him in a hug. Tenten glanced upward to see Lee press tender lips to the back of Neji's shoulder.

It wasn't until they'd showered and changed and eaten dinner that Tenten remembered Lee's comment from the night before—it hit her as soon as they'd said goodnight to Neji, and she and Lee settled into bed for the night.

Tenten sat bolt upright. "Lee."

Lee yawned, and propped himself up on one elbow. "So you noticed, huh."

"But…" she hesitated. Was it really that big of a deal? She looked at Lee, and he calmly watched her work things out on her own. Then she drew her knees to her chin and mulled over the possibilities, chewing on her thumbnail. Lee idly tapped his fingers on the tops of her feet.

"Does it bother you?" she finally asked, and Lee chuckled and glanced away.

"No, not really," he shrugged and both of them fell silent for several minutes.

"I love Neji," Lee said at last, and squeezed her foot. "I love you. It doesn't matter to me how we are in bed, as long as we're happy."

"But there's never been a pattern, before," she pointed out, "And it does bother you. Or you wouldn't have said anything."

Lee shrugged again, "I just wanted to know if you noticed, is all."

"Not as quickly as you did," she admitted, "But yeah. I noticed."

Lee lay back against the pillows and offered the spot beside him. She curled up against him with her head on his arm, and thought about the stress she'd seen on Neji's face when he'd come over that night, and the way that he'd hugged her—so similar to that time long ago, right before his match with Naruto.

"What do you think we should do, Lee?"

She felt him kiss the top of her head, his answer as simple as the issue was complex. "Love him."

Tenten snuggled closer to Lee and they went to sleep; she just hoped their love would be enough.

The next two weeks proved that Lee's suspicions were correct. As Neji's stress increased, his need for physical contact with them also increased—Tenten couldn't remember the last evening Neji hadn't been sandwiched between them during sex. It was nothing she or Lee objected to, really, except that it meant there was something Neji was trying to deal with on his own without telling them. Once he turned eighteen it got worse—they'd never seen him so needy before, nor had he been so reluctant to leave them at night.

Tenten wasn't sure when she started following Neji's cousin, Hinata.

Perhaps it had been curiosity about the Hyuugas, and the amount of meetings that Neji was required to attend. Hinata was the Hyuuga heir, so surely that meant she had even more obligations than Neji did—only Hinata didn't seem to be suffering from the same kind of stress. Tenten didn't shirk any of her other duties, but following Hinata became a subconscious activity that permeated every minute of free time aside from the evenings spent with her teammates.

In no time she knew exactly what ingredients made up Hinata's preferred blend of tea, could draw a map of the interior of the shop where Hinata purchased jars for her ointments, and could predict how often she'd need to replenish both.

By the time Lee figured out that she'd been doing something secret, the only important information she'd discovered was that Hinata attended every single meeting Neji went to, though she hadn't figured out how to get close enough to find out what happened during the meetings without being discovered. A house full of Byakugan users posed a significant challenge, to say the least. She was still working on a way around that minor detail when Lee landed on the tree branch beside her.

"Tenten, what are you doing here?"

She raised an eyebrow, and shrugged. Lee glanced down to the ground where she was watching Hinata, Shino, Kiba and Akamaru strolling towards the Hyuuga compound to drop her off after their afternoon practice. Lee nodded towards the entryway, "Is Neji in there?"

Tenten shook her head, "I don't think so."

"Then we should go; otherwise it'll look suspicious for both of us to be here in this tree."

She ignored him. Tenten watched Shino and Kiba closely, making sure they hadn't noticed anything unusual as they continued on their way. "Do you think we could get in there without anyone noticing?"

"Why would you want to do that?"

Lee sounded agitated, so Tenten reluctantly glanced to the side to make eye contact. "Someone in there has to know what's going on with Neji."

Lee's brows lowered, "You think Hinata-san knows something?"

Tenten bit her tongue; the fact that Lee said Hinata's name meant that he probably knew what she'd been up to. She tried not to sound too defensive, "She goes to all the same meetings, Lee."

"That may be." Lee took hold of her arm, "But I don't think it's right to follow her, Tenten. It's none of our business until Neji tells us himself."

"But he won't say anything," she said, glancing back down at the impressive cluster of buildings and finding Hinata and her teammates had already gone. "If he won't tell us, we have to find out some other way."

"It's his choice to tell us or not," Lee squeezed her arm for emphasis. "We can't make the decision for him. He'll tell us when he's ready."

"How can you stand it—"

"I can't!" Lee insisted, then squeezed her arm much more gently to make up for his outburst. "I can't stand it either."

Tenten glanced away from the raw emotion in Lee's eyes, denying the part of her that felt the tiniest bit better knowing that he was just as worried as she was. She gave a dry laugh, "You haven't been following her too, I hope."

"No, I've been doing extra training with Naruto-kun. He's an intense sparring partner, especially since Sasuke-san came back," Lee admitted, then paused. "It helps."

"I see." She didn't need to ask anything else; everything with Lee was physical and intense. It made sense that his way of dealing with things was to focus on training. He pushed himself more than anyone else she knew, and she loved him for it—he was inspiring to everyone around him.

Lee moved close enough to brush their lips together, smoothing his bandaged hand along her cheek and curling his fingers at the nape of her neck. "We'll be okay, Tenten. All of us."

Lee was a hopeful optimist, but Tenten felt skeptical. In any case, it seemed that she'd reached a dead end anyhow. If Neji didn't want to talk, then Lee was right—the longer she tailed Hinata the more she risked getting caught, and getting caught wouldn't improve the situation at all. There wasn't a good way to spy on the meetings, even if Lee helped. The whole situation made her mad beyond frustration.

They'd left together with the agreement that they would wait as patiently as possible either for Neji to resolve his issue, or to bring it to them so that they could help him more than just providing him a safe place to come to as often as he could. Tenten gave up following Hinata, and did her best to show both her teammates what they meant to her.

She wasn't sure exactly when Hinata decided to follow her.

Tenten somehow ran into her everywhere. The mission room, the grocery store, the onsen—Hinata never said anything beyond a normal greeting, a polite inquiry as to how her day/week/morning had been. Tenten didn't want to get drawn into a conversation, although Hinata never seemed to want one; each time, after the preliminaries had been observed they both fell silent, Tenten waiting for something more to happen while Hinata glanced away and blushed in her annoyingly adorable way.

Tenten began to feel even more paranoid than when the tables had been reversed. Was Hinata waiting for her to say something?

The confrontation finally happened in Tenten's favorite weaponry shop. She'd gone there after a quick lunch to see the new stock that had arrived in time for the final matches of the Chuunin exam—Neji would be the proctor for the final matches scheduled next week. Tenten was so absorbed in her mental critique of a new shuriken alloy that she didn't notice anyone standing behind her until she heard a tiny cough.

She turned on reflex to see who it was, and found Hinata looking very out of place in a shop full of deadly steel, clasping and unclasping her hands. "Nice, day, isn't it?"

Tenten blinked. "Yes, it is," she offered a smile that she knew didn't quite reach her eyes. It was too surreal to have Hinata approach her here, in a place she was normally more than comfortable. It wasn't so comfortable now. "What brings you here?"

Hinata glanced to the side, but straightened her shoulders and faced her squarely. Tenten reminded herself that Hinata was only a few upper-level missions away from qualifying Jounin like the rest of them. "I wondered if we could talk about something. Do you drink tea?"

Tenten raised her brows, surprised at the invitation. She folded her arms, knowing she had the upper hand in terms of location and response; she didn't want the conversation to be difficult, but she saw no real reason to make it any easier. And although she might have a chance to ask Hinata direct questions, she was almost afraid of what she'd hear. Her stomach churned.

"I have to be somewhere in a few minutes; can we talk here?" Tenten stepped closer to the display racks in an attempt to make things slightly more private; a compromise, since they were in the back of the shop. Hinata glanced around, then nodded and mirrored her actions. Tenten waited for her to begin with trepidation, even though Hinata seemed much more nervous.

"I know we don't know each other well," Hinata began, and Tenten tightened her hand on the shuriken she'd been examining, cool and sharp under her fingers.

"I…" Hinata took a deep breath and seemed to force herself to continue. "I want to make sure you know that Neji is free to choose—no one will force him, and I'll support whatever he decides."

Tenten shook her head, "Choose…?" What was she talking about?

Hinata met her eyes, "Neji-nii-san… Hasn't he spoken to you about father?"

Tenten shook her head, again, slower. Hinata's eyes widened, and then she glanced to the floor. Tenten almost thought she could see the cogs turning behind those pale eyes as Hinata debated her next moves, but once again the Hyuuga heir straightened with resolve.

"Father has offered Neji-nii-san a chance to become part of the Hyuuga main-family," Hinata swallowed. "He has until December 27th to decide, but the decision is still his."

Tenten reeled from this information, remembering how austere Hyuuga Hiashi seemed at the hospital when they waited for news of Neji's condition, barely a sign of emotion that his nephew could be dying beyond the double-doors of the emergency room. Yet Neji had spent consistent time with him over the years; their bond had to be strong for Hinata's father to make such an offer, especially with the long history of the Hyuuga clan being divided. It sounded like an opportunity no branch-family member would pass up—why hadn't Neji immediately agreed?

"What happens…" Tenten swallowed, surprised at her own hesitation. "Why December 27th?"

Hinata flushed, and shoved her hands deep into her coat pockets. "It's my eighteenth birthday," she whispered, as if it were a crime.

Tenten went still—her heartbeat racing until the rushing of blood deafened her with its terrifying pulse. The pieces clicked into place with painful clarity. To leave the branch-family, Neji would have to wed his cousin. A small voice tried to remind her that he was being given a choice in the matter; the head of the Hyuuga clan had every right to arrange any type of union for any type of reason, no questions asked or permitted. But the nature of Neji's turmoil, the urgency of their lovemaking, his continued silence on the matter…

Tenten took a step backward, trying to process what she had just heard—and what it meant that Hinata had approached her in the first place. "Why did…? You knew." Tenten looked away, chagrined that with all her years of being teamed with Neji, she'd let Hinata catch her.

Hinata nodded, but didn't say anything for a moment. When the silence grew unbearably awkward she continued, "I assumed that if you were … that Neji-nii-san had told you already."

"No," Tenten admitted, and it hurt. All of it. It burned in the corners of her eyes to think of the terrible choice Neji had been presented. And the terrible fear shaking inside her bones that he might choose to leave them.

"I wanted you to know he can choose either way, without repercussions." Hinata said, equally as uncomfortable with the situation as Tenten. "I will support his decision, when he makes it."

Tenten watched Hinata smile, even though it was obvious she had little to no choice in the matter herself; she wondered if Neji had considered that he might lose even more of his freedom by becoming a main-family member, father of future heirs. She didn't want to contemplate what that reality would mean for her and Lee. Her throat closed up at the briefest mental image, taunting her with Neji's absence.

After a moment, Tenten cleared her throat. "Thank you for telling me, Hyuuga Hinata." There was nothing more to say.

Hinata smiled, and Tenten thought it was almost a hundred-percent real. "Neji-nii-san always speaks so highly of you. I hope we can be better friends."

Tenten had to look away from her, had to look away from the hopefulness in her voice, and the loneliness she sensed from that statement. She looked at the shuriken in her hands and flipped it over and over in what she knew was a nervous gesture, but at least it kept her from breaking down—this business with the Hyuuga main and branch families was a lot to take in, even without the topic of Hinata's birthday, and the implications therein.

Tenten was saved from giving any answer by the shop door opening with a thud, and an unmistakable, excited voice wafting over the aisles.

"I told you not to hog her like that, bastard; I'm so getting you back for that."

"Tch. Idiot. You took too long."

"That's no reason to shower without me, and it was even my idea!"

"Like it took so much thought to come up with that."

"You sure liked it the other night, Sasuke; who was it screaming my name? Hmm?"

Naruto came into view at this point, and Tenten could see him openly leering at his teammate, unaware of their presence until Sasuke elbowed him in the ribs.

"Ow!" Naruto made a fist to hit him back, and Sasuke ducked under it and muttered something about "…so dead" before turning the corner and moving to the other side of the shop.

"Hey!" Naruto started to follow, but caught sight of the two of them and jogged over instead. "Tenten! Hinata! How's it going?"

"H-hello, Naruto-kun," Hinata greeted him, and Tenten smiled and waved next to her.

"Is that the new shuriken?" Naruto pointed to the one in Tenten's hand.

"Yeah," Tenten offered it to him and Naruto took it with an eager grin. She watched him examine it and was pleased he knew what to look for in terms of craft and balance—it reminded her why people admired his strength and cunning as well as his friendly personality. Naruto had become a spectacular ninja; it was no wonder Lee and Neji both trained with him on occasion.

"Can I borrow this for a sec?" Naruto asked, and Tenten nodded as he dashed off, no doubt to show Sasuke. She turned to Hinata and caught the other girl in a brief, unguarded moment—it was rare for a Hyuuga to show such adoration or resignation in their expression, schooled as they were to be calm and unreadable from an early age.

She could tell from that split second how much Hyuuga Hinata still loved Naruto, and Tenten thought her heart might really break.

"I think I have to get going," Hinata said, and Tenten was surprised at the abruptness of the statement. Hinata was already moving towards the door.

"Okay," Tenten said, floundering for words after so many revelations, and none of them particularly good. "See you."

Hinata nodded, and then was gone. Tenten stood there in the aisle for a moment, no longer interested in alloys or shuriken or anything else inside the shop. She made a beeline for the door and dashed across the village to Lee's apartment, hoping to catch him in between sessions at the academy; it was one of the days he'd been scheduled to teach.

She tried the door and found it was locked; she knocked and waited, and nobody came. She thought about picking the lock—locks were token accessories in a hidden ninja village—then she sat down in front of the door, knees to her chest, wondering how long he might be and what she could do in the meantime besides be left alone with her thoughts. It was an oppressive weight, closing in from all sides and cutting off the ability to breathe, like the water prison of their first Akatsuki opponent.

It had taken Neji to get them out of that.

Tenten sighed, and almost gave in to the urge to cry when she recognized Lee flipping over the edge of the roof to land in front of his apartment. He recalculated his landing so he didn't step on her.

"Tenten!" Lee grinned, kneeling and wiping the summer sweat from his brow. "I didn't expect to see you here!"

Tenten let him pull her to her feet. "Can we go inside?"

Lee opened his door and ushered her inside; she sat on the couch while he searched through his piles of weights and training equipment, all the things he kept here rather than at her place. He found what he needed and added it to his pack, then joined her on the seldom-used sofa.

He listened with his full attention as she recounted her conversation with Hinata; she didn't remember starting to cry, but found her cheeks were wet by the time she'd finished sharing her suspicions. Lee was grim—probably more because he hated to see people in pain than because he was assuming the worst would come to pass. He paced around the cluttered living space while they talked through the possible outcomes.

"Well, we've got one thing going for us." He came over to the sofa and sat, pulling her into a comforting, solid hug. "If we didn't mean so much to him, he'd have decided this a long time ago, perhaps even before his birthday."

Tenten sighed, willing the tears to stop soaking her skin and Lee's vest, to no avail. Lee gently stroked her back, "I have to go back to teaching. I'm sorry I can't stay with you."

"I know, it's fine." She rubbed her face with her hands and sat up.

"Can you do something to relax until tonight when Neji comes over?" Lee asked as they stood up. He retrieved his backpack from the floor.

Tenten considered going somewhere to train until her muscles gave out, and then thought of the hot springs. In the end she did both, finding solace in the simple tasks of throwing pointed objects and then submerging herself in hot water. The physical sensations helped keep her mind off the emotions coiled tight in her stomach, and the anticipation of seeing Neji that evening—it was going to be difficult not to say anything while knowing some of what he'd been trying to battle on his own.

The onsen was empty when she arrived, and stayed that way until after she'd accidentally dozed off. The water had lulled her into a light slumber, broken by the sound of two female voices giggling as they approached the water and stepped into its heat. Tenten cracked her eye open and saw them both make a big show of unwrapping their towels. Neither of them seemed to notice she was there.

Ino gasped, "Sakura! I don't believe it…"

Sakura grinned from ear to ear, showing off her love bites and turning in a circle. Tenten raised an eyebrow at the twin stripes of nail marks gracing each curve of Sakura's firm behind—obviously she'd been having fun, and Tenten could guess who the lucky shinobi were, plural. Lee and Neji had already commented to her how they suspected Team 7 was sleeping together, and she couldn't find it in herself to object. Sasuke was back in the village, pardoned and more or less accepted as a ninja of Konoha—Sakura and Naruto had worked too hard to get him back for her to begrudge them any happiness they could grab hold of.

Tenten didn't want to think about how many days and nights they'd had to survive without their third, or even each other; she couldn't bear to think of losing either of her teammates now. She'd almost lost them once, and she'd vowed never to lose them again.

She stood up in the bath and moved for her towel, startling her comrades even though she'd tried not to call attention to herself. Ino had her own share of hickeys blossoming on her pale, perfect skin; Tenten thought it was odd to be competitive about something like that, even though she had rosy remnants on her own neck and breasts that hadn't quite faded entirely.

She left after a polite amount of girl-talk, ignoring the pangs of loss she felt at their giddiness while she and Lee were facing a possible and permanent separation from Neji. She dried herself and dressed in clean clothes, rushing to her apartment to prepare a meal before Lee and Neji arrived—she hadn't realized how long she'd slept and was now late. In another few minutes she was at her door, but a sixth sense told her not to open it just yet.

She'd expected that the other two might arrive before her; what she hadn't expected was to hear them shouting at each other inside her apartment. Her mind raced as she tried to piece together the argument, heart sinking at how angry they sounded.

"What do you want me to do, Lee?" That was Neji; she could picture him in the middle of the small living room, gesturing with elegant hands. "I can't go back and change it now!"

"We're a team!" Lee shouted back, and she could imagine his enraged face from the timbre of his voice, vibrating with energy in a way all his own. "This is not something you keep from your teammates, Neji!"

"What good would it have done?"

"Why don't you trust us?"

"It's not about that!"

"Then tell me why you hid the truth!"

"Because I knew you'd be like this and I don't want to fight!"

"We're fighting anyway!"

"I know!"

"Are you actually going to leave us?"

"I told you, I just can't—"

"Then why—"

"How could you possibly understand?" Neji's voice wavered and Tenten opened the door, afraid to interrupt and afraid not to—she stayed by the door after she'd closed it behind her.

Lee's vest was on the floor, the upper half of his green training suit hanging around his waist. He might have been either dressing or undressing—she couldn't tell from the way his clothes were suspended in between the two stages—but he started to wind the loose ends of the bandages back into place, not meeting either pair of eyes. Neji's shirts were strewn on the floor as well; his hair was bound as usual near the base and his pants and boots were still fastened. His muscular chest was bare, flushed at the neck from either rage or arousal. Considering how he was with Lee, it was probably both.

The room fell into an uncomfortable silence, except for the hasty movements of Lee rewrapping his forearms. Tenten didn't know what to say. It was clear that Neji knew about her encounter with Hinata, and that Lee had brought it up—probably with less tact than she would have used—which had resulted in the argument she'd overheard. They stood there, three points of a triangle, until Lee grabbed his vest and made for the door.

"I'm going for a run," he announced, and Tenten gaped at the fierceness in his eyes as he came towards her, oblivious of the fact that he was only half dressed.

"No, Lee," she shook her head and pressed her body back against the door. "Don't go…"

"Why not?" Lee didn't actually move her out of the way, but came close enough to do so should she continue to block him. "He's still not going to tell us anything."

"Don't take it out on her when you're mad at me, Lee," Neji folded his arms across his chest.

Lee snorted, "That's why I'm leaving. So she doesn't have to watch me punch your face in."

"You couldn't even if you wanted to."

Tenten darted in front of Lee before he could take more than two steps towards Neji. "Stop it!" she shouted, sensing that Neji had gotten into his usual fighting stance, left leg forward, left arm raised to strike.

"Stop it both of you!" She held onto Lee's biceps and braced her feet, desperate to keep them from fighting with more than words, if they had to fight at all.

"Tenten," Lee tried to shake her off, and Tenten clung harder.

"Don't fight. Please." She shut her eyes against her fears, not aware that she was crying.

After a moment Lee relaxed, and she felt his arms slide around her back in a loose, tentative hug. Tenten turned her face into his collarbone, shuddering though she didn't make a noise. She couldn't let go of him. "Please, don't go. Don't leave…"

A choked sob made its way out of her mouth, and she heard Neji crossing the room towards them. She tensed when he came near, but when Neji's arms came around them both the dam burst, releasing all the worry and anxiety that had built up over the weeks of questions without answers, and answers that were somehow worse than the weight of not knowing.

"I need you both. I need you both," she whispered. Then, "Don't leave." And the arms of the men she loved tightened around her in agreement. Neji pressed his lips to her temple, and Lee kissed the top of her head, and she heard them sigh in what might have been the word never.

The three of them stood there, entwined, until her tears stopped of their own accord. She used her sleeve to dab at her eyes, and dry off the side of Lee's chest that had caught some of the moisture. When they were calm, Neji took their hands and drew them into the bedroom, spooning against Tenten while Lee took her other side, nuzzling his head under her chin.

They held each other, quiet and still for a long time. Tenten stroked Neji's arm where it curved over her to touch Lee, and closed her eyes to enjoy their closeness even though the main issue had yet to be resolved. She thought back to the time Lee was hospitalized, and how much it had hurt even then to think of losing him, before she knew anything about love. She thought of the long days waiting for news of Lee or Neji's whereabouts as they chased after Sasuke, and the longest hours of her life sitting outside emergency room seven with the prayer that Neji would live.

And Hyuuga Hiashi, whose brother had died in his place according to a code that Neji fought to change, and now—by marrying the clan's heir—he could spearhead a new era for the Hyuuga clan as a whole.

"They've never made an offer like this before, have they," she asked, when it seemed like the right time to start the conversation they probably should have had months ago.

"No," he answered. He sounded tired. She couldn't blame him; it was not an easy problem to contemplate for any of them. How could she ask him which way he thought he'd decide? It was too much. She didn't know how Hinata could stand it.

"I…" Tenten paused. "I didn't want to like her."

Neji sighed and tightened his hold on them both. "Me either." Lee was silent, but Tenten met his eyes and knew he'd heard the affection Neji had for his cousin, because of who she was—but they both knew without a doubt it was nothing compared to what he felt for the two of them.

She nestled closer against Neji's body, "We love you, you know."

"I know," Neji whispered against her neck, and then kissed her, sending goose bumps down across her shoulder.

Lee hooked his fingers in the waistband of Neji's pants and jerked him forward, chuckling. "You're supposed to say you love us back, genius."

Tenten smiled at the feel of Neji's smirk against her neck. "I wouldn't let you two fuck me senseless if I didn't, Lee."

"Neji," Tenten squirmed at the lewd tone of his voice, and giggled at the sight of Lee's blushing cheeks.

Neji made no other reply, returning to the spot on her neck he'd been nibbling and sliding his hand down Lee's back to grip his buttocks. Tenten sighed at the luxury of being between her teammates, satisfied enough to simply lay there and enjoy their company until Lee inched low enough to undo the clasp of her shirt with his teeth so that his hand could slip underneath the fabric and change her mind.

Lee kissed her mouth while his hand stroked over her ribs and collarbones, deliberately avoiding her nipples and making her grind against him impatiently. Neji moved his hand from Lee to the clasp of her pants, sliding his body over so that she could shift onto her back and help him get her clothing off. She kicked off her sandals and lifted her hips; Lee flicked her nipple to taunt her before reaching to help Neji slide her pants down her legs. Next she raised her arms and they pulled her shirt up and off her body, leaving her naked between them except for her panties.

Neji moved close enough for her to kiss, and Tenten sank her fingers into his impossibly silky hair, gasping in surprise when Lee suddenly took her nipple between his teeth and sucked. He stroked his half-bandaged hand over the soft skin of her waist and the taut muscles of her stomach, the texture of the wrappings intensifying the slow motions. Neji focused on her mouth; kissing her like it had been weeks since the last time.

Tenten felt a flush spread over her body from their attentions, moaning into Neji's kiss while Lee flicked his tongue over her tightened nipples and teased his fingers along the line of her underwear. When Neji kissed his way down her throat and neck to suck on her other nipple she had to grip the closest parts of them from the intensity of having both breasts teased at once—it made her mumble incoherently while they snickered to themselves at her total arousal under their ministrations.

She dug one hand into the hard muscle of Neji's shoulder, and the other she fisted into Lee's short hair, pressing her legs against each other to ease the throbbing ache in between. They'd evidently joined forces in making her writhe as much as possible despite their own obvious erections—she vaguely wondered if this was some kind of male bonding to make up for the fight earlier. And then Neji drew the backs of his fingernails along the inside of her thigh and she decided she didn't actually care, as long as they didn't stop.

In went on long past the point she thought she'd die from it. Not an inch of her skin was left untouched—they stroked, licked, and bit her from head to toe before either of them reached below her panties to touch her where she wanted it most. When they did she pleaded with soft cries, bucking and grinding into their hands with urgency. She was so wet Neji didn't need any other kind of lube to slip a finger into her rear—she groaned at the anticipation of having both of them inside her, something they hadn't done in far too long.

Lee drew steady circles around her clit while Neji worked a second finger into her, and Tenten could hardly stand the slow torture of their practiced onslaught. On some unknown cue, Lee and Neji each took a nipple into their mouths and sped up their hands to bring her climax rushing forward in a breathtaking surge of pleasure that rolled into several orgasms, one right after the other.

They let her rest for a minute, kissing her cheeks and lips while Neji tugged on the bunched training suit fabric around Lee's waist in a suggestion to expose more skin. Lee complied and showed off his washboard abs and tight butt while he did it. Neji followed suit, stripping off his pants and letting his unbound hair fall across the planes of his chest, his stomach only slightly less defined than Lee's. Both of them were hard, and Tenten grinned in bliss at the normalcy of their antics, watching them strip and then reach across her, each stroking the other's cock to try and get the other one to make a noise first.

Then Lee leaned over her to kiss Neji, and Tenten didn't know who would have won their game in the end since they both became more interested in devouring each other instead. When all three of them were panting to get on with it, Tenten helped pile the pillows at the head of the bed, and Neji propped himself on them while Lee got the lube.

Lee smeared a liberal amount onto Neji's long, gorgeous cock, and then he kissed her while she straddled Neji's hips. Neji gripped the base of his erection and held himself still and Tenten lowered herself very carefully, the sensations strange but also exciting—Neji had prepared her well enough to avoid pain from his size—since she knew what was coming next. When Neji was sheathed inside her she slowly leaned back until Neji's chest cradled her back, and his hands held onto her hips. He rocked upward and thrust deeper, and Tenten moaned along with him at the tight friction—knowing it was about to get much tighter.

"Lee," Neji said, and it was breathy and wonderful where his mouth was against her ear.

Tenten reached for Lee as he moved over them, kissing Neji, then kissing her, Neji reaching down to place a gentle fingertip to her clit while Lee got into position. She was still wet, but Lee used some extra lube to be sure she would have as little discomfort as possible. She wrapped her legs loosely behind his back, and then he moved his cock thrust slowly inside her, stretching her to the limit and rubbing against Neji through the thin wall between them.

Lee moved very slowly at first, all three of them panting and groaning and fighting to stay conscious from the intensity of their close positions. Neji wiggled his fingertip against her clit with steady vibrations, and Tenten locked her ankles behind Lee's back to let him know he could thrust in a deeper rhythm. Neji writhed underneath her, not needing to thrust much because Lee was in control—Lee's thrusts pleased them all, and he seemed determined to make it last, drawing out their pleasure with the focused, experienced precision.

The buildup was slow, intimate. Tenten loved the times like this, when sensation and emotion seemed to drift into a horizon where one became the other and all you had to do was float, and feel, and love. She knew sex wasn't always like this—and it had been a rude awakening the first time she'd had to bed another for the success of a mission. This kind of amazing bond didn't happen when all you wanted was sexual gratification, and Tenten understood that their bond was deeper than the word teammates could encompass, defined by more than their names on a roster, or their efficiency completing the Hokage's assignments.

Tenten rested her hands on Lee's sides, thankful that it hadn't been his fate to be crippled when they were Genin. She rested her head on Neji's shoulder, thankful it hadn't been his fate to die by enemy arrows on his first A-rank mission. She wrapped herself in the feel, the smell, the sounds of their lovemaking, and was thankful that she'd known it could be like this, at least for some part of her life.

They clung to one another and moved in unison towards a release that crested and then spilled with an explosive force. The feeling was profound in the aftermath, a deep ache that permeated the room, a single note of silence suspended in awe at what the three of them meant to each other.

Fatigue was immediate and Tenten nearly ignored her body's urges for food and a quick shower in favor of staying right where she was in a messy heap of masculine, muscled shinobi flesh. Lee was the voice of reason, and he hopped in the shower and then fixed them something to eat while Neji dragged Tenten into the bathroom for brief clean up. The three of them ate in bed, and Neji borrowed her hairbrush to work the tangles out of her wavy brown hair, a luxury she looked forward to whenever he was inspired. Lee watched Neji, and Tenten watched Lee, and everything felt right for the first time in months.

She didn't say anything when Neji curled back up with them, the sun burning fiery orange outside her windows as a countdown to his curfew. Lee kept quiet as well, snuggling up behind Neji and making the best of the time they had.

Tenten didn't know when exactly she'd fallen asleep, but she woke up with a start. The darkness of the room told her it was long past time for Neji to go back to the Hyuuga compound, and her heart lurched that he'd be in trouble for disobeying their rules—even on accident.

She nudged his shoulder, careful not to wake Lee in the process. "Neji," she whispered.

"Mmmm," he answered, his Adam's apple vibrating against her collarbone.

"It's late… close to midnight I think," she told him.

Neji nuzzled his head against her and twined his fingers with the hand Lee had flopped over his torso, and Lee squeezed back, still half asleep. "I know."

Tenten held her breath. Neji didn't miss the sudden tension in her body, and lifted his head enough to smirk at her, eyes silvery bright in the moonlight. He let go of Lee's hand for the moment, reaching for a lock of her hair and twisting it together with a lock of his own.

"My father chose his own destiny," he said, stroking her lips with his thumb. "I'm a lot like my father." Tenten kissed his thumb, then turned her head into his hand and kissed the center of his palm, reading between the lines and hardly believing what he was saying.

"We love you too, Neji," Lee cuddled closer to whisper the words against Neji's shoulder, and the three of them chuckled before going back to sleep—the best sleep any of them could ever remember having.


the end.