Wildcatt request. Humorous more than anything, I think. There's been a recent surge of interest in, reminding Neji that he's still a teenage male, even if he IS a cool-headed shinobi and even if he DOES angst about Fate.

Konoha was in the middle of a heat-wave of unimaginable magnitude. It was the type of temperature that made the idea of a cold shower seem heavenly – if you could get the water cold, seeing as how it usually half-boiled in the pipes. It was the type of temperature that drove air-conditioner sales through the roof, and made people with air-conditioners very popular. It was the type of temperature that no one considered moving in, much less training.

No one, that is, except Hyuuga Neji and Tenten.

Tenten collapsed backwards onto the grass, her breath coming in short quick gasps as she tried to recover from the heat-worsened exhaustion of the sparring match. The air felt like a thick wet blanket as she struggled to gulp it into her lungs. Her clothes were dark with sweat; she had decided to forego her newer, flowing blouses for the sleeveless and much more summer-weight tang-tops of her youth. It was a little too small for her now, requiring a couple of unfastened frogs and baring her midriff, but honestly in this hot, almost tropical weather every inch of uncovered skin was a blessing. She stared into the sky, trying to decide whether the strange wobbling of her vision was just heat-wavers or her being really close to blacking out.

"Are you tired already?"

Normally she would have denied any such allegations, and backed it up with several thrown weapons, but today she only nodded as she panted for breath.

Neji made a sound of contempt, but – Tenten couldn't help but notice – it was somewhat breathless, and he did seat himself (because you couldn't say Hyuuga Neji ever flopped, not if you wanted to live a pain-free life) beside her instead of continuing to train.

Tenten grinned to herself for a moment.

She blindly reached out a hand and fumbled for her pack, too tired to exert the effort of sitting up. Her brow creased in slight irritation as her hand failed to meet with the object of her desire, and she made a small, annoyed noise and sat up. She pulled her bag to herself and began to rifle through it with more thoroughness.

Neji watched her out of the corner of his eye. "What are you doing?" he asked her in a flat voice.

"Looking…looking for…found it!" Tenten crowed in triumph, withdrawing a slim metal thermos from her bag. She pressed her face against the cool metal, sighing in relief at the feel of it. Neji, now curious, was staring at her. Tenten removed the metal thermos, now fogged-up from the heat of her skin, from her face and unscrewed the top, reaching in to withdraw a…

"What is that?"

"It's ice-cream!" Tenten chirped, carefully peeling away the brightly-colored wrapping. "It's a sea-salt flavored ice-cream pop, my favoritest flavor in the world!"

She took a moment to appreciate the sight of the cold treat. A perfectly-shaped taper of pale blue sweetness, mounted on a popsicle-stick, so cold that it was covered in a thin silver coating of ice-crystals. Little streamers of cold-steam rose into the hot summer air.

"Sea-salt?" Neji repeated incredulously. "And why is it blue?"

Tenten paused from her reverent contemplation to glare at Neji. "Do not question the ways of the ice-cream makers, for they are chilly and prone to fits. Then where would the ice-cream lovers of the world be?"

Neji scoffed. "And I suppose…" he began to say, but trailed off, his eyes suddenly bulging.

Tenten had begun to eat her frozen treat by running her tongue all over it, carefully licking away the little silver ice-crystals. When she'd licked off all the ice-crystals, the popsicle was noticeably darker, and shiny with moisture. Warmed just enough so that her mouth wouldn't suffer from freeze-burn, but still delightfully cold, the ice cream was now in the perfect state for Tenten to stick it whole in her mouth and suck gleefully.

"Mmm," she moaned around the ice-cream, loving the taste and the coldness.

Neji was unabashedly staring now, his eyes wide and his mouth hanging open ever so slightly. He snapped his jaw shut so hard there was an audible click of teeth.

Tenten noticed a few pale droplets hitting the back of her left hand - the popsicle was melting from the summer heat. She took the popsicle out of her mouth with a soft but audible 'pop', and licked all around it until the melted sections were cleaned. Idly she raised her left hand to her mouth and licked off the ice-cream droplets.

Neji gulped hard, trying to swallow past the rapidly-beating heart that seemed to have jumped into his throat. He was aware that his mouth was watering so much that if he opened it he might drool all over himself. Nervously he shifted position. Thank all the gods that he was wearing such loose clothing.

Satisfied that the ice-cream would cease dripping on her, Tenten inserted the popsicle back into her mouth. She toyed with the popsicle stick jutting out of her mouth, using it to slip the ice-cream slightly back and forth. She made happy little slurping noises as she enjoyed herself.

Neji heard a sound like a small whine, and it took him a few moments to figure out that he was the source of the noise. He tried to stifle it, but burst into a small whimper when Tenten licked her lips around the ice-cream.

She looked at him curiously. "Neji?"

He bolted to his feet, immediately turning away from her so she was addressing his back. "I…I need to go. Now." Suiting action to word, Hyuuga Neji then raced away from the scene like a spooked rabbit, leaving a confused girl to stare in his wake.

Tenten shrugged. "Hm, whatever."

She then bit the top of her popsicle off.


Sea-salt ice-cream pops are, of course, from the awesome game Kingdom Hearts 2.