Title: My Dignity Doesn't Look Good in a Sunhat.
Warnings: Crack. Abuse of all things Hyuuga. Immense amounts of sap at times. Not to be taken at all seriously!
Summary: 'According to official looking documents of a very questionable validity, Hyuuga Neji is classified as insane.' Contains Neji-abuse, sand in uncomfortable places and a sunhat with a bow. School's out for summer.
According to official looking documents of a very questionable validity, Hyuuga Neji is classified as insane.
Frankly, the jounin in question hadn't been aware of this little fact until he'd had the paperwork tossed down in front of him by a far too smug Tsunade.
"You're barmy," she tells him with a smirk.
"You're barmy." When realisation doesn't dawn on his face, she continues on. "Bonkers. Off in the head. A few sticks short of a bundle. Addled. Cracked like a soft-boiled egg." His Hokage is enjoying himself far too much. "You have been certified as too mentally unstable to be fit for duty by one of our top psychologists."
This is also news to Neji and he can only blink, completely lost. "When the hell did that happen?" See, shock has a terribly adverse effect on a Hyuuga's language. Terrible, isn't it? "And by who?"
"Remember last week when Jiraiya asked you whether you liked blondes or brunettes better and you said 'neither'?"
"That was it."
"He's your top psychologist?"
"He didn't need to be when you don't like either. Geez, Hyuuga, aren't you a little old for your hormones not to have kicked in yet?" She squints at him – something he knows she doesn't need to do because her vision's 20/20. "I hadn't heard anything about Byakugan activation delaying puberty, but perhaps I should look into it…"
Neji's look is as flat as a pancake. Flat as a flounder, even. "I'm not insane."
Tsunade taps the neatly printed medical report with one smug (and very well manicured) finger. "Documentation says otherwise."
He fumes quietly, frustrated. She seems to enjoy the spectacle because her grin oozes that little bit wider and she gestures to where Shikamaru is standing in a corner trying not to laugh.
For a usually deadpan, dry man, he's doing an absolutely terrible job.
Tsunade takes the files Shikamaru hands her. "This-," she says, tossing one down with an obnoxiously loud slap, "-is the paperwork for your leave of medical absence, signed by your doctor."
He's going to kill Sakura.
Another file slams down. "This is approval from your squad leader for your removal from mission status for a week or two."
He's going to eviscerate Gai-sensei.
"And this…" The final file lands with a foreboding thud of finality and Tsunade's smile wouldn't have been out of place on a cat with a hell of a lot of cream. "This is my written order for you to have two escorts at all time to ensure you don't slit your wrists or toss yourself off a cliff in your state of madness."
This wasn't funny to begin with, but now it's just plain insulting and Neji would have voiced his tight, hot anger, but she's sliding the latest folder across to him and he looks down, out of habit, to see the names of his two babysitters.
The sense of betrayal only serves to piss him off even more and his spine goes stiff with the righteous indignation he feels knowing that he'd trusted them.
"We thought you needed a vacation."
Tenten is heinously blasé about the whole deal and Neji's found that it's really difficult to rant at someone when they're busy folding bikinis and sarongs and all manner of flimsy little sundresses.
"A vacation," Neji repeats in a monotone. He'd started off standing in the middle of the room, but had been bustled out of the way several times. Now he's forced to sit on the wobbly chair beside the wardrobe and the less than strong stance detracts from his anger.
"A vacation," Tenten agrees. "You know what that is, right? Time without missions, taking time off from Clan business."
"Spending time on a beach," Lee chimes in. He looks perfectly comfortable sat cross-legged in the middle of the bed, rolling socks.
Neji glowers at him, but Lee's always been immune to the patented Hyuuga glare. "I don't need a vacation."
"That's not what the medical records say." Tenten only smiles sweetly at him when he turns the dirty look on her.
"I," Neji grinds out, "Am not insane."
Tenten, aggravating little chit that she is, squints good-naturedly at him. "Did you or did you not have the same teacher as us?"
Neji can't combat that one and realises that females don't play fair. He turns to Lee instead. "You're not playing along with this farce." It's not a question – he's always been the most dominant of the three and is used to phrasing things as statements or commands.
Lee shrugs ingeniously and passes Tenten his pile of neatly balled socks. His smile is brilliant (toothily so) and his tone equally bright. "We are young, my friend, and we should be taking advantage of this glorious opportunity! Challenges can take the form of both work and play, and I for one am most interested in this 'surfing' that Temari-san speaks of…"
It is about now that Neji realises he is doomed.
He can feel a migraine brewing and closing his eyes doesn't work – he can still see them. "Why did I have to be insane?" he says, a pained sigh filtering out through his lips.
"Because it was funny," Tenten replies promptly before she artfully insinuates herself into his lap. "Besides, it was Tsunade-sama's idea."
"Tsunade-sama," Neji says tartly, "seems to have it in for me."
"Don't be like that, Neji!" The Hyuuga lad forgets sometimes just how fast Lee can move because his hyperactive teammate appears to shift from the bed to behind him in a flash. Strong hands knead at the knots that seem to have made their permanent home around his shoulder blades while Tenten expertly slides her arms around his neck. "If all three of us are going, think of it as a training mission based on reaffirming intra-team bonds." Tenten nods her agreement, lips accidentally brushing his jaw as she does so.
He refuses to let on how good Lee's impromptu massage feels, or just how stiff his shoulders have been over the past few days (months, really.) He will not reward their bad behaviour and he has a bucketful of pride to uphold.
So he settles for looking haughty, but they take that as the victory they know it is.
"You better get this taken off my record…"
The Hyuuga are not built for dealing with heat. Really not. Dark hair soaks up the sun and pale skin burns easily. Neji told Tenten and Lee this in an attempt to make them shift their choice of vacation destination to anywhere other than Suna's beaches. Tenten just dropped a sunhat on his head.
It was floppy. And feminine. And had a bow.
Neji attempted another revolt, but was halted in his attempts to get out of the vacation when Lee blithely mentioned having commandeered a straitjacket somewhere along the way.
And that was how Hyuuga Neji has come to be sitting on a mat on a beach in Suna, completely against his will, while Lee tries to build the largest, most complex sandcastle in shinobi history and Tenten reads her book.
He feels like asking when they get to go home, but Hyuuga do not sound like petulant children, so he settles for gritting his teeth and running over a possible new training schedule in his head.
His constructive chain of thought is ruined when sand from Lee's rather exuberant excavations hits him in the face. Full on.
"Watch his eyes," Tenten chides placidly, turning a page with a licked finger. "We need those for when we go back to work."
Lee salutes and goes back to work with renewed vigour and slightly improved aim. By the time Neji's vision isn't completely grainy, the showering sand only lightly dusts his toes. Neji stares at the pale digits, completely out of place here, and experiences a sudden longing for one of the suicide kits he carries on missions.
As if reading his mind, which she does with alarming frequency, Tenten carefully folds down the corner of her page (a habit he hates) and sits up. Her smile is bright as her fingers work at loosening the knot of her sarong. "Fancy a swim?"
Neji is about to reply in the negative because salt water is sticky and nasty and if he gets wet, sand will adhere all the more readily, but then the sarong falls away and he's forcibly reminded that, while Tenten is short, her legs seem to go on forever. And the top is practically non-existent, with flimsy bows at the small of her back and the nape of her neck that look as if a sharp gust of wind would make them fall undone.
Neji didn't even know he was a bikini man until now.
He finds himself at the edge of the ocean, with little waves lapping at his little toes, and doesn't remember walking there. Immediately, he sniffs and turns away, rejecting such silliness.
That's when Lee tackles him into the water and all hell breaks loose.
After Tenten has prevented him from drowning Lee and has even gone so far as to find him a towel to dry the salt water from his long hair, things look as if they might be going better. Even if, despite his best efforts, the sunhat (and bow) has survived its dip in the sea.
Then Lee brings out the watermelons.
"This is foolishness," Neji says for the umpteenth time and the repetition doesn't make it any less true in his eyes. In fact, his eyes are currently fixed on where Lee is attempting to smash a helpless watermelon with a blindfold on. For a trained shinobi, he seems to be missing an awful lot.
Tenten smiles benignly. "Hush. It makes him happy."
Neji is about to ask her just when she became as mellow as a very placid cow and whether she is taking horse tranquilisers secretly when a chunk of watermelon hits him in the face.
Lee's perseverance always pays off! And Neji will never forgive Tenten for laughing.
"It was kind of funny."
"Just a little bit funny."
"A tiny, little bit."
Neji has to wonder just what sort of perverse satisfaction Tenten gets out of torturing him like this. So far, he's suffered water fights, watermelon to the face and the indignity of wearing a sunhat with a bow.
He is a jounin. He is a Hyuuga. He simply doesn't do summer vacations.
"I thought it was funny, didn't you Lee?"
Because Neji doesn't do summer vacations, he is hiding in the bathroom on the pretext of washing the watermelon seeds out of his hair while Tenten and Lee lounge around in the main part of the hotel room. Except he isn't so much hiding (Hyuuga don't do that either, apparently – it's a very long list) as retreating. From their chipperness.
"Of course not, Tenten! It was a very serious accident that could have had very serious consequences! Because we are so very, very youthful, the springtime of our joyful adolescence would be very much dimmed were Neji to become pregnant!"
Neji drops the soap. He also hears a noise that sounds suspiciously like Tenten falling off the bed.
"…okay Lee, you're going to have to explain that one."
"Neji got hit in the face by that chunk of watermelon, right?"
"And his mouth may have been open as well?"
"Then he may have swallowed one of the seeds!" Lee sounds super serious about this and manages to do what countless enemy shinobi have failed to do. Neji is (somewhat) afraid. "And Gai-sensei says that babies begin to grow when their mother swallows a watermelon seed that becomes planted in their stomach."
What follows is a stunned silence that somehow manages to be incredibly loud at the same time. Then Neji hears (very distinctively) Tenten's forehead hit the palm of her hand as Lee asks, sounding supremely concerned, whether their beloved teammate will need a pregnancy test.
"Hyuuga Neji. You cannot leave me out here on my own to explain this to him. Get out of that bathroom. Now."
Neji experiences a moment of smugness. "If you wanted support, Tenten, you should not have made me wear the hat."
"We only brought one comb with us. And I'm holding it."
Neji eyes the long, wet mass that is his hair and remembers what it gets like if he doesn't comb out all the tangles before it dries.
An hour and a half later, Lee now has a version of the specificities of the birds and the bees that hasn't gone through the garbling machine that is Gai-sensei. He looks pensive. Neji and Tenten just look exhausted. And a little haunted.
"No questions!" Tenten and Neji chorus together. Neji glares at her momentarily, then sighs and waves her on. She always was better at Lee-wrangling than he was.
"Why don't you go and see if the clothes are dry yet?" she says, smiling fondly at Lee when he trots off towards the balcony where they were hung. Once he's gone, Tenten flops down onto her back and turns her head so that her face is buried against Neji's thigh. "He's never going to grow up, is he?"
"Not unless we make sure he and Gai-sensei are never in the same room as each other again."
Both of them briefly contemplate the idea of a life without all those floods of tears and repetitive torrents of 'Lee! Gai-sensei! Lee! Gai-sensei!' Then they sigh because it is an impossible dream.
Tenten nuzzles at Neji's leg, which he finds more distracting than he'd like to let on. "I don't particularly want him to grow up. I like him the way he is."
Neji makes a neutral noise. Frankly, he'd like to speak to the person who cuts Lee's hair. And the one who sells him his clothes.
Neji is more fashion-conscious than you'd think.
"Tenten! Neji! Come see!"
Tenten crawls off the bed first and, at the doorway, turns to give Neji a pointed look. He waits just long enough to show that moving is entirely his own idea and has nothing to do with her raising an eyebrow at him, then pads over towards where the two of them are standing on the balcony.
"Wow…" he hears Tenten breathe. "This is why we paid extra for a room with a sea view."
Before them, the sun dips low over the horizon and its crimson light sets the sea on fire. Everything else is cast into stark relief by the glory of the setting sun and the sky itself is washed with streaks of red and yellow, orange and pink, fading into the purple that heralds the onset of true night.
A movement at his left is Tenten insinuating herself under his arm. The one on his right is Lee hugging him gently around the shoulders.
"It's so beautiful," Lee breathes.
"Yes," Neji says absently, not really thinking about what he says until it's too late. He can feel Tenten's sly look without seeing it, and his hair parts where Lee snickers softly into it. "…if you tell anyone that I enjoyed this, even the smallest bit, no one will ever find your bodies."
Not meant to be taken at all seriously. I've been writing enough serious, deep pieces lately that I needed some goofy light relief. And I haven't written Team Gai in a while, so they were clamouring to come out.