Just a dip in the pool, one-shot probably. All for fun.
I don't own Naruto. Yep, but you knew that already.
TenTen was practicing with her weaponry. As usual. She was hitting everything she was aiming for, which was also quite usual for TenTen. Her muscle memory was fantastic and life was good. She pulled on a blindfold and worked without sight, listening and 'feeling' the air currents around her as she nailed the practice targets without thought. Using the smallest amounts of chakra needed to 'see' what was around her, allowing her to strike her targets perfectly.
"You just keep impressing me." The presence behind her was no surprise, but the words coming from Neji's mouth did. At the end of her movements, and not a moment sooner, she calmly pulled off her blindfold at looked at her teammate.
Neji was a beautiful sight, always had been. He was 17 now and had grown even more so. But TenTen shrugged, she was immune, mostly. In fact, the three of them, herself, Neji, and Lee could nearly communicate without words. And, she smiled to herself, Lee was just as loud and annoying without ever having to say anything. It was a good quality to have on a team.
But as she looked at Neji she realized that she didn't know what was on his mind. His face was closed to her. She knew that he appeared 'stone-faced' or expressionless to most, but she and Lee had learned to read the smallest of nuances. But today, he was giving nothing away.
He didn't add anything else, just stood there, looking at her. He was still as a statue, but TenTen could sense the tautness of his stance. Feel the potential for sudden movement. Like flight? Was the Hyuuga nervous?
To break the moment, she turned and started pulling the various sharp instruments from the targets. She was deliberately looking away so he wouldn't see her curiosity, something she knew from experience he would not appreciate. "My blind-eye technique is no where as good as your clan's blood limit." There, see how he would respond.
But Neji didn't reply to her conversational gambit. He just stood there.
TenTen finally ran out of weapons to collect, although it took her a good long while. She sat down on a nearby stump and began cleaning the pile of weaponry. Never would she put a blade away without proper cleaning and storage, except on a mission.
The silence dragged on, leaving TenTen confused. Neji was quiet, but not usually like this. He wanted something or he wouldn't be here, but what?
"TenTen, you're a woman." He started, but then stopped again.
She raised an eyebrow. Okkkaaaay. That wasn't like the confident teammate she knew. She waited. She wasn't the overly talkative type either.
He cleared his throat. "I mean, you think like a woman. Right?"
OH! TenTen fought the smile threatening to set up shop on her face. Neji was having a dilemma with a woman. TenTen blinked. Neji never had trouble with women. Although she'd never heard him talk about anyone, she knew he wasn't a monk.
"You have a question, ask. I can't guarantee the right answer." It may have sounded brusque to an outsider, but it was a declaration of support and by the sudden relaxation in his shoulders, he heard it loud and clear.
Yet he didn't ask. He just sat down beside her and began helping her tend the various blades.
"Does age matter?"
TenTen blinked. She pondered the question as she mentally reviewed the latest graduation class from the Academy. Or maybe one of the genin getting ready for their chuunin exams perhaps. There were a few cuties, of course, but no one that stood out to her. But then, she wasn't male.
He snorted, "big help you are."
"Well it does. Depends on how large the age difference, depends on the maturity level, and it depends heavily on those around the couple."
This made him look up. "Why?"
TenTen wrapped up the remaining weapons and scrolls as she prepared to pack up for the afternoon. She'd practice again later, after a quick meal and to check in with her current lover. Neji's question would not be on the topic list though, her male friends tended to get jealous of her relationship with her teammates. Their communication and closeness tended to bewilder outsiders.
"Well, there are family issues. Will either party's family have an objection to the age difference? Will her friends approve." She shrugged, "It's hard to say. The only thing you can really do is ask the woman in question." Woman, not girl. She trusted Neji not to look at someone too young. Couldn't she? For the first time in years she wondered if she really did know her teammate as well as she'd thought.
No, no, no. She would trust him. Trust was essential in a good team. TenTen smiled, "good luck."
He left without another word, the silence enveloping her like an old friend. His face once more open to her eyes. Wow. She thought as she watched him leave, I sometimes forget how truly lovely he is to look at.
It took her a while longer to finish storing all the weapon scrolls and so she was running a bit behind for dinner. She needed to wash up first and decided to take a short cut to her place, through the training fields. Her current male companion was not a stickler on punctuality, but TenTen certainly was.
As she passed a small copse though, she stopped, her ninja trained senses picking up on someone … no, two someones. Over … no, over there. She paused in the growing shadows. It wasn't unusual to pass people here, but normally they'd be training.
TenTen continued past, but looked to make sure all was as it should be and nearly fell on her face when she realized who it was she had stumbled upon.
Her face a bright red, she hurried past long before the delighted grin could have a chance to spread over her.
Age difference? That sly boy. And shame on her for thinking he'd look at someone too young.
Neji and Shizune, huh? Would wonders never cease.