(Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto, this is a nonprofit story)
"You're brilliant, Neji," Tenten sighed, pulling a kunai out of the ground. "I have no hope of hitting you at all."
He walked around the circle of protection, helping her pick up her various weapons that were embedded in the ground, sneaking the odd look at her. She was panting and sweaty and the most beautiful girl in Konoha. One of her buns had completely come out, so her shining brown hair was loose on the left side of her head, creating a lopsided but still adorable picture.
"I'm beat," she said, yanking the last shuriken out of the earth. "Shall we stop training?"
He nodded, and she started to leave the training ground. Neji followed, soon catching up and walking next to her.
"Neji? The Hyuga place is in the opposite direction. Where are you going?"
"I…ah, to buy some…" Buy some what? Think, Neji! "…dango."
"You don't like dango," Tenten said, giving him a funny look. "Remember when I asked you to come with me to get some, and you refused because you hated it?"
"Ah…I...I want to give it another chance…" Neji had never felt quite so awkward in his life. He was talking like Hinata, for Kami's sake! He supposed it would have been easier to ask Tenten if he could walk her home. Just to protect her, of course, he thought hastily.
He was well aware that Tenten had once liked him. But he had unconsciously shot her down so many times, refusing so many offers to go for ice cream/dango/ramen/sushi/anything he wanted that he was sure she had given up years ago. And just when I started to notice that she was the strongest, most attractive kunoichi in Konohagakure, not to mention the one whose company I actually enjoyed, he thought bitterly.
'Do you mind if I come with you? I have a bit of a craving for dango, myself," Tenten said, smiling, revealing her adorable dimples.
"All right," Neji said, a touch glumly. He hadn't actually planned to get dango, needless to say, because it was among his least favourite foods. But, he thought, at least Tenten was coming.
They walked down to the Higashi dango store, and Neji was hit by the horrible realization that he didn't actually know any types of dango.
My destiny…is to die a long, shameful death…
"What kind do you want?" Tenten asked as they walked into the small whitewashed building. "I love mitarashi…"
"I'll try mitarashi, too," Neji said. Tenten gave him an odd look.
"You seem to be acting a little strange lately, Neji. Anything wrong?"
Neji shook his head, so glad that Tenten didn't possess any mind-reading jutsu. She would kill him for lying.
They bought the dango and, at Tenten's request, walked over to a bench outside to eat it.
Neji took one bite and grimaced. Tenten smothered a grin as she watched him chewing with a look of absolute disgust playing across his perfect features. He was undoubtedly the most attractive boy in Konoha, and over several years, her affection for him hadn't ceased at all. She had wished for the past two years that she might go out with him, and perhaps this dango-buying date was the closest she would ever get to that. Oh, well. She might as well get used to it: the attractive Hyuga boy so close to her heart would never like her back.
"This…is…revolting." Neji said, finality in his tone.
"Maybe you got a bad one…here, try one of mine," Tenten said, and without thinking, she pulled a dumpling off one of her skewers and held it up to Neji's face.
Neji instinctively opened his mouth, and Tenten slipped the dango between his lips, accidentally brushing one with her finger, jerking them both back to reality. She withdrew her hand, blushing furiously. Realization dawned on Neji that Tenten had just fed him dango, and he had let her do so!
"Neji…I…I'm sorry," she murmured, looking at her feet instead of his beautiful face.
"You shouldn't be," Neji said dryly. "They must have given me bad dango, because yours tasted so much better."
"Let me try…" Tenten said mischievously, her usual demeanor returning. He reached into his bag and held out a stick of dango to her, but, smirking, she shook her head.
He realized what she wanted and his own smirk played across his face. Copying what she had done, he yanked a dumpling off the stick and popped it between her waiting lips, deliberately brushing them in the process.
She chewed thoughtfully for a moment. "No, actually, I think yours tastes better. Or maybe it's something about the way I'm eating it…Do it again, just to make sure."
Almost grinning, Neji plucked another piece of dango off the stick and slowly put it in her mouth. This time, she ignored the dango and licked his fingers, running her tongue hungrily over them in small circles.
"You know," she said decadently, smacking her ruby lips, "maybe it's your fingers that taste better after all."
She fed him another piece of dango, letting him taste her fingers. "Yes," he admitted, still smirking, "it's definitely you that tastes good…"
Oh, what an invitation! Tenten slid closer to Neji on the bench, and he responded by crashing his lips down on hers.
His tongue ran across her lower lip, pleading for entrance, and she complied immediately, letting him slide his mitarashi dango-flavoured tongue past those ruby lips of hers. He explored her mouth, which also tasted a lot like the dango he detested so much. But somehow, this way of tasting the dumplings was far better.
When they finally pulled apart, Neji turned to Tenten, wearing the smirk that never seemed to go away lately, and said softly,
"Maybe dango's not so bad after all."