Neji went for a walk, ostensibly to get away from Lee and Gai and their Volleyball Game of Life, really to look for Tenten. She'd gone off early that day, even before he'd woken, leaving only a note taped to the door-frame for her teammates. (Gone to the beach, see you later. -Tenten, with that little dragon, half-stick figure and half-icon, that she absent-mindedly scribbled on all sorts of surfaces if she was left alone)

He'd been unexpectedly miffed by this, and had resolved - childishly, he now recognized - to avoid her as she had avoided him. Yet within a rather short time, he'd been driven to seek her out. He was slowly realizing, as he trotted down the white-sand beach, and his Byakugan strained to find Tenten's now familiar chakra system, that he had grown rather...dependent on her company. He had, he thought, slightly wistfully, grown accustomed to the sight of her face...

His eyes caught the sliding blue light that was Tenten's chakra, and he perked up (though he would have glared evilly at anyone who applied that term to him). He picked up his pace, adjusting his gait for the soft sand underfoot, and began to hurry to her.

"Tenten," he called out. "Tenten...!" He paused.

Tenten was sitting on a rattan lounge, surrounded by a complex latticework of floating mirrors. He blinked, then blinked again, his eyes growing wide in his reddened face.

(Her skin was glowing.)

"Neji?" Tenten said, looking up and then waving. "Heya!"

(Her legs went on forever and ever. One was curled up to her chest, and she was smoothing suntan oil on it. He wished he had a camera - or, for the first time ever, he wished that he had the Sharingan and its ability to forever store every visual detail of a moment.)

"What's all this?" he asked, nodding towards the floating mirrors. His voice squeaked a little at the end and he hurriedly began to clear his throat.

Tenten gave him an odd look, but seemed to dismiss it. "Oh. I just rigged up a little something so I tan better," she explained, and twitched her fingers. The mirrors subtly moved, and there was a quiet shimmering - Neji realized the mirrors were held up and connected by a glowing web of chakra strings, so thin as to be nearly invisible even to his Byakugan.

(She was wearing that bikini. Neji's mind segued, for a moment, into a fantasy-world where she always wore that bikini. Training would be so ...fulfilling.)

Neji cocked his head to the side, pretending to examine her mirror-net but really taking the chance to look over her bikini-clad body. He was a moment late in providing a reply that had any sort of intelligence to it.

"'re directing light under the chair."

"Under the lounger, Neji, the lounger. And yeah. This way I can tan on both sides at once!" Tenten chirped brightly, proud of herself. Neji's lips quirked into something like a smile - leave it to Tenten to search for efficiency even in sunbathing.

And then his smile dropped, as Tenten lay down on the lounge, stretched as lithe as a cat, and gave him a pleading look.


Neji feared, really feared, for a moment, that he was drooling.

"Can you help me put suntan oil on my back?"

Half of Neji - more than half - exploded into raucous cheering and urged him to offer to 'help' to put it on more than just her back. The other part of him told him to flee - flee at once - before Tenten realized the drooling pervert waiting to be unleashed underneath Neji's surface gentleman.

He swallowed hard. "O- of course."

She smiled at him, and handed him the bottle of suntan oil. He swallowed hard again, knelt beside her chair, and set to -- work.

Somehow, rubbing oil onto a relatively small surface area (of soft, tanned skin) had taken much longer than Neji thought it would. Perhaps it was some sort of time dilation. Maybe the oil had psychotropic properties. It was only when Tenten began to purr that he came back to himself.

His hands were flat on her back, slick with oil and he could feel the heat from her sun-warmed skin. He had also - he realized - gone from kneeling beside her to practically straddling her hips. Her back was glossy with the oil, and he'd spread quite a bit more than enough - he was no longer applying, he realized, but actively massaging her, his hands kneading and pressing into the fascinating curve of her spine that he'd wondered about for so long.

She was enjoying it. He was enjoying it.

And that scared him more than anything else.

Abruptly he swung off her, reeling mentally. He opened his mouth to say something - anything - to her, but the disappointed, puzzled look on her face as she looked at him stole his breath and words. He turned on his heel and - ran away.

Tenten sat up, blinked, and watched him go... and then a slow, wicked smile spread across her face.