Breaking the Glass Ceiling
A/N: She's the Man is one of my favorite movies, and I can't help but think of what chaos would occur if Tenten disguised herself and transferred, along with Sakura and Ino.
Summary: When the Kunoichi team is cut and the principal doesn't allow the girls to mix with the Shinobi, there is only one plan that makes sense. Disguising yourself as a boy and sneaking into the rival school with your best friends to join that school's team to destroy the other team. All would be well, if only the captain and his friends weren't so suspicious of their plan. NejiTen, SasuSaku, NaruHina, ShikaIno
Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto
Tenten was not a temperamental person, though she had her moments. Not like Sakura, who could switch between sweet and raging in the same breath, or Ino, who was overly passionate about everything. She wasn't as calm as Temari, or as shy as Hinata. She knew her opinions but didn't voice them without reason.
But whenever something really and truly angered her, she let it out.
"IT'S NOT FAIR!" shouted Tenten angrily as she stormed around her room. "We're as good as half of the boys on that team and even better than the other half, so why can't we play! It's all thanks to that stupid, pig-headed, idiotic--" her language promptly went downhill from there.
Sakura looked up from the book she was reading, one eyebrow twitching at the choice of curses, at her furious friend. She knew and understood Tenten's wrath and disappointment, but seeing the girl so out of control was discomfiting, not to mention the repeated insults and wails was getting more than a little old.
"SO THAT JERK SAYS WE CAN'T JOIN THE SHINOBI TEAM ALL BECAUSE WE'RE—"
"--Because we're girls. It's not fair, it's not right, but it's true." Sakura stated succinctly, sick to death of Tenten's unnatural behavior "and stop mauling your poor bedroom, it has done nothing wrong." Reluctantly, Tenten stopped, looking around guiltily at the destruction she had caused.
"Heh, oops." She said sheepishly, noting the shredded posters and overturned pieces of furniture, with contents of said furniture strewn across the room. About the only item untouched by her wrath was her bed, and only because Sakura was lying on it. She yanked a pillow out from behind Sakura's head (eliciting a "Hey!" from the pink headed girl) and threw herself on the end of her bed.
"It's still not fair," Tenten mumbled into her pillow. Curse all the masochist, sexist teachers to hell and back! At least her old childhood teacher, Gai-sensei, would have given her a chance, and would have tried to make sure she succeeded; at least once she insisted that doing so would show off her youth. He won't have raised a fuss about girls joining any team.
Childhood is always so easy. No puberty, no responsibilities, and no problems associated with being a mature female.
Sakura patted Tenten on the back sympathetically. "I'm sorry that the Sand Kunoichi team was cut, Tenten, but who knew that the coach would be so--" she thought for a moment, "--rude about girls joining the Shinobi team. He even turned down his own daughter's reasoning."
Tenten laughed a little shakily, "Unfortunately, I'll bet he was used to Temari's temper tantrums, and knew how to ignore or defuse them." She suddenly grinned sadistically "Ooh, but I wonder how the joint efforts of Temari's and Ino's impressive voice workings will do?"
"I still can't believe we had to resort to that…" remarked Sakura, shaking her head disapprovingly despite the small smile on her lips.
"Well, when we tried to use you as the voice of reason, I knew things would get a little extreme."
"We could have had Ino be the voice of reason." Sakura suggested nonchalantly.
"Touché, but that is really going overboard! It's almost like having Hinata act assertive.'
"If Hinata acted assertive, then she would have snagged that guy that she's always murmuring about. I wish we knew something other than what he looks like…" Not having Hinata at school with them wasn't easy, but her father always wanted the best for her, and thus enrolled her in Konoha Acadamy, the best in the city.
"Well, we're kinda getting off topic, but maybe Hinata's academy allows girls to join the shinobi team, and that would give us an excuse to be with her. AND to kick the Sand Shinobi's sorry behinds HARD!!"
"Maybe that won't be necessary, everyone else is outside, undoubtedly with the coach's answer." true to Sakura's words, Tenten could just hear the unmistakable voices of their blonde friends, with the fainter, sweet voice of Hinata also carrying through the window.
Now that her wrath had been spent, Tenten felt considerably more optimistic. Maybe the coach had suddenly decided to put his heart to use, and granted the Sand Kunoichi a chance to try out for the Sand Shinobi.
Her hopes were crushed the instant she opened the door of her apartment and saw Temari and Ino's desolate expressions.
"He won't do it," Ino announced, flopping onto Tenten's couch in a dramatic gesture of defeat. "The conniving idiot absolutely refuses to allow us on the team. Girls are much too gentle to be able to handle boy sparring, they lack the attitude, and they are simply too emotionally delicate." she mimicked scornfully. She was promptly whacked on the head with a pillow, courtesy of Temari.
"OW! What was that for?!"
"Insulting my dad," said Temari in her deep, elegant voice, "although I do agree. If he wasn't the principal, I'd suggest you fight, but it looks like he's a hopeless case. Move over." Temari pushed Ino over to make room for herself on the couch before sitting down and crossing her legs. "Oi, Tenten, could you make some chow mein for us? We forgot to eat lunch."
"Sure, I'll get right on it."
"Sorry that I couldn't have been there to support you guys," said Hinata softly, seating herself at the small table in the connecting kitchen. Tenten, who had begun the preparations for chow mein, paused temporarily to pat the girl sympathetically on the back.
"It's okay; I don't think it would have made much of a difference." Tenten assured her, "It made no difference when Gaara said that if we were good enough, he would have let us on the team."
"He's never liked Gaara though." Sakura reminded as she walked into the room, "I think that he only made it worse. And I wouldn't trust the rest of the team's judgment calls. Ooh, chow mein!" she wandered over to see what Tenten was cooking.
"That's true," agreed Temari, "And at least he let you know before school ended, it would have been awful if you showed up next year and had been excited about it all summer. Doesn't make it fair, though." She grabbed the remote and began to aimlessly flip through the channels, eventually stopping at some romantic comedy marathon. "Right now, I say we just forget about it, and wait till our tempers cool."
"That sounds like a good idea, couldn't agree with you more, Miss Voodoo." said Ino, stifling a yawn
"That's a first," Sakura remarked to no one in particular, "Temari and Ino-pig finally agree without disagreeing." She sat down with her back against the couch and cracked open her book at its bookmark, ignoring her two friends' indignant gasps.
"Stop calling me pig, forehead girl! And what do you mean, 'agree without disagreeing'?" demanded Ino angrily
"You and Temari always decide on the same thing, then argue that you didn't agree, when in reality, you both are very similar." Sakura stated, while Hinata hid a smile and Tenten chuckled.
"We aren't the same at all!" insisted Temari
"Of course you are," called Tenten from the kitchen, "Your hair, clothes, favorite colors, and temperamental personalities are all alike."
"Are not!" the blondes yelled simultaneously, before glaring at each other in outrage.
"STOP THAT!" they shouted in perfect harmony.
"SHUT UP!!!" Still doing it…
"REALLY, STOP THAT!!!" and so on and so forth…
Eventually the bickering escalated into play fighting and Hinata and Sakura were forced to intervene. Tenten was spared that lovely task thanks to the chow mein, and by the time she had finished cooking, Temari and Ino were sitting in chairs in different parts of the room, pouting outrageously with their faces to the walls.
"Aw, did Sakura give widdle Ino and Temahwee a thyme out?" asked Tenten in an annoying, singsong voice as she passed out the steaming plates of noodles and chopsticks.
"Nah, they did it to themselves, this time around." Said Sakura, who along with Hinata had claimed the couch and both girls were now avidly watching the TV movie. Tenten settled herself on a large pillow cushion on the ground and also began to watch the movie.
Though she enjoyed it, her mind kept wandering back to the Shinobi team. It was indescribably infuriating at how neither she nor any of her friends were allowed to try out for the boys' team. It was clear that their skill exceeded the boys' own (with a few exceptions, namely Gaara) and it was thanks to them the Sand Kunoichi team had won for three years in a row.
"Hey Hinata, does your school have a kunoichi team?" Tenten asked without thinking.
"No, we have mixed teams, but the boys are the only ones that make Chuunin. Most girls are merely Genin, we have a couple of female Jounin instructors, but no female Chuunins." Responded Hinata, giving Tenten her full attention.
"So basically it's an unwritten rule that girls stay out of sight while the boys bask in the sunlight?" asked Tenten sarcastically.
"Wh-what do you mean, Tenten?"
"Honestly, it's so unfair. I hate all of that 'men make better shinobi than women' crap. Look at Tsunade!"
"My principal?" asked Hinata
"Yeah, she's a woman, and one of the best shinobi out there!" Tenten continued her rant; ignoring the worried stares the other girls were giving her. "I mean, I know none of us can hold up in contests of brute strength against men. Sakura's the only exception, her and Tsunade, but we more than make up for it in brains, tactics, and strategy!"
"True," conceded Temari, "But several shinobi boys also have those traits, so the strength is what tilts the scales."
"Well, so does endurance," put in Ino "Strength is fine and dandy, but useless if you tire out before your opponent."
"Well said, Ino-pig."
"Thanks, your turn, forehead girl."
"Do it, or I will reveal the photos." Sakura glowered at the smug Ino before answering.
"…Fine. Look, Tenten," she addressed the older girl, "You have the speed, endurance, and agility that could put you in the elite ranks. But, you're the exception to the rule, like my strength. Even if the principal lets you be the exception, you will still be ridiculed, set up, and sabotaged by the people who don't want you on that team or want to keep you as a Genin. They'd do whatever they could to keep you downtrodden because they are such sexist pigs." Hinata, Ino, and Temari politely applauded as Sakura made a mock bow from where she was sitting.
The frank, brutal speech hit Tenten across the head like a mallet. She knew that everything Sakura said was right, but still wished she could sweep it all away.
"I guess you're right, Sakura." Her head drooped, "but senior year is going to be awful. The kunoichi team was one of two things I liked about school." She began to collect the empty bowls and chopsticks and carried them to the kitchen.
"What's the other thing?" Ino called from her seat curiously.
"You, Sakura and Temari, of course." There was a collective "aww" from the aforementioned three girls. Hinata didn't say anything, merely thinking, the way she had been during the whole conversation.
A solution to her friends' problems had popped into her head, one that could help them all. But it was so ludicrous, so difficult, requiring secrets, lies, and a huge sacrifice from one of them. But at the same time there was a twisted sort of logic about it.
A tap on the shoulder jolted her from her thoughts. "Hinata, are you all right? You've been staring into space for the last five minutes."
"Y-yes, Sakura, I'm fine. I just had a silly idea." The instant the words left her mouth she wished she could take them back. The other girls in the room suddenly perked up, looking far too interested.
"An idea, huh?" mused Ino, twirling the ends of her fringe, "Would this idea by any chance, happen to have anything to do with our little problem?"
"M-maybe," again Hinata winced at the bad word choice. But she was a terrible liar, and judging by the look on Temari's face, her ridiculous solution would be extracted.
"Really?" said Temari lightly, "Well, what is so ridiculous about it? You're a sensible person, Hinata. It can't be that bad."
"Yes it can be."
"Then just tell us, we might be able to make sense from it." Said Sakura from next to her.
"I still don't think it's that important, besides, it's crazy enough to be a movie plot." She REALLY wished she didn't say that…
"Oh, really?" Ino crossed her arms, "Then stop being a basketcase and tell us, Hinata." At her tone the shy girl had no choice but to surrender.
"W-well, I was w-wondering; maybe you could transfer to Konoha and join the team disguisedasaboy!" Temari, Ino, and Sakura all blinked, trying to work out the last part of the statement.
Oddly enough, it was Tenten who worked it out first, despite being in the kitchen. "Where did you come up with that Hinata?" The girl blushed and mumbled under her breath something about a "romantic comedy" and "figured it was worth a shot" before going back to her silence.
"So you're suggesting that one of us goes undercover as a boy? It's a thought." said Sakura, not incredulous the way Hinata thought she would, but thoughtful.
"Transferring wouldn't be hard," remarked Ino thoughtfully, "There's nothing left at Suna to keep my interest, and my parents would be thrilled if I got into Konoha Academy. And we all have talents to recommend ourselves with –Sakura has her brains, I have my traditional arts skills, and Tenten has her sports. We could apply for scholarships, or just have our parents pay for it."
"I could hack into the computers and forge recommendation letters from my father," offered Temari, "It won't pose much of a problem, though we'll have to tweak the records of whoever wants to be a guy."
"That would obviously be me," announced Tenten as she reentered the living room. "I'm the only one who could pull it off. After all, I have no parents, I live alone, and I'm not prone to overtly feminine behavior."
"You're volunteering?" It was clear from Ino's tone that she thought Tenten was joking.
"Well, Temari's in college—she can't do anything, Hinata already goes to the Acadamy, Sakura is too obvious and would have to dye her hair, and your characteristics are too overtly feminine to hide."
"All good points, but I thought we'd have to draw straws or something. Tomboyish as you are, I didn't think you'd willingly give up your feminity."
"No way! I'll be a girl whenever I can." declared Tenten
"Eh? Y-you're taking this seriously?" Hinata could understand Ino's enthusiasm, and even Sakura's a little, but Temari? And Tenten?
"Of course Hinata, we need to take affirmative action, and what better way to prove prejudices than to have girls and a boy-girl of equal skill make the team, and see if the boy-girl moves up while the girls are left behind?" asked Sakura.
Somehow, she makes even that sound reasonable, thought Hinata incredulously while the other girls—yet again –mock applauded their pink-haired friend.
"Exactly!" Ino snapped her fingers, "And once we beat the Suna Shinobi, Tenten would be able to reveal her identity and that would be that! And since she's graduating after the year is up, she wouldn't be in much danger of backlash!" Ino sounded very pleased with her logic.
"Yeah, and what's even better is that you live close enough to take the bus, Tenten! You won't have to live in a dorm." Added Sakura, closing her book without bothering to replace her bookmark.
"I guess there was an advantage to living near the edge of town. But how would you guys get to school?" asked Tenten.
"Didn't you hear me? Ino and I would live in a dorm."
"Oh, right. What about actually getting in?" inquired Tenten
"Like I said before, I could hack." Stated Temari, "I'm not a computer major for nothing. It shouldn't be too hard, all of you girls have assets that would improve the school's rep. Not to mention, it'll be fun and give me something to enjoy while I'm slaving away in college."
The other four girls in the room shared a look.
"I take it that you're gonna turn Tenten into your newest pet project?" asked Sakura.
"Well, yes, but…I also want to rub this into my dad's face." Temari's face briefly darkened, but was quickly replaced by a grin. "Show him that just because he deems people worthless, that it doesn't mean they are." There was a brief, awkward silence. Temari didn't usually bring up how badly Kankuro and her father were feuding.
"Well," said Ino, determinedly cheerful, "what are we sitting around here for? Shouldn't we start planning? I know we have all summer, but we have a lot of work to do."
"Yes," added Hinata, "Tenten will need to learn how to be a boy, which will not be easy."
"Maybe I'll imitate Kankuro," said Tenten thoughtfully, twirling a strand of hair around her finger. "He's a good guy, even if he does play with dolls."
"They're puppets," said Temari automatically, "Not dolls." Tenten rolled her eyes at Temari's defense of her younger brother.
"In any case, Kankuro and Gaara are pretty much the only boys we knew at Suna, but Gaara's personality is that of a cold block of granite. And if I'm going to succeed at fooling people, I'm going to actually have to be likable."
"We'll work on that," said Sakura, "but first," she pulled out Tenten's laptop and handed it to Temari, "we need to plan ahead. Temari, since you're the computer genius, type down any possible scenario we might get into and we'll figure out ways to work them out."
The four girls all crowded around Temari and began to plan on how they would lie to authorities, destroy the sexist glass ceiling and upturn the entire city once Tenten revealed herself to be a girl after beating so many guys.
It was most certainly going to be a fun year.
Hyuuga Neji, soon-to-be senior, captain of the Leaf Shinobi, and class president, suddenly felt a chill run up his spine. He turned, his long hair whipping around, but could see nothing unusual in the Konoha streets.
"Oi, Hyuuga, what's wrong?" asked Uchiha Sasuke, a soon-to-be junior, the most popular boy in the school and the only person to equal Neji in sports and athletics. Despite (or maybe because of) their ice cold demeanors, they got along very well.
"It appears that Fate has something in store for us next year." Said Neji as they stood on the concrete, ignoring the passer-by, "And I'm not entirely sure that it will be pleasant."
"Hn," said Sasuke, unperturbed by the prediction, "Well if Fate has stopped speaking, I suggest we keep moving. Shino and Shikamaru are at Ichiraku's with Naruto, Kiba, and Lee; we should probably help them hold on to their sanity." Neji nodded and the two prodigies continued their walk down to the ramen restaurant.
As they walked, Neji made a quick mental note to be very alert when school began, and to make sure there wasn't anything too weird. He trusted Fate; right before sophomore year had started he had gotten the exact same feeling, and Uzumaki Naruto had entered his life.
It was most certainly going to be a strange year.
Author's Note: Neji has no idea how right he is…
Anyway, in case any of you are wondering:
Suna and Konoha are two districts of North Fire City, while Oto is in the South Fire City. Because they are right next to each other, their schools are within busing and driving distance. However, Konoha is known for being a wealthy school, while Suna is pretty ordinary in terms of academics, but they had an amazing Kunoichi team.
Hinata, Sakura, and Ino all met up in middle school, and Sakura and Ino met Tenten when they entered high school, and they introduced her to Hinata (who they kept in contact with), and the four of them became close friends.
Temari is Sabaku-sensei's daughter who is a sophomore in college. She is the assistant coach for the Sand Kunoichi and has known Sakura (and by extension, Ino) since they were kids. She has a rocky relationship with her father, though not as bad as Gaara's and Kankuro's.
Please please let me know about any questions, criticisms, or comments you have. I would love to hear about what you have to say, and I need to know if there is anything I'm doing wrong.
About the title: It's weird, it makes no sense, but I had no idea what else to call this story. A glass ceiling is like an unofficial barrier that prevents people (usually of a different sex or gender) move up in a hierarchy, so I just applied it here.