Title: Cast and Mould

Fandom: Naruto

Pairing: Gai/Tenten, Lee/Tenten

Rating: PG

Word Count: 1,068

Summary/Description: This isn't happening.

Warning/Spoilers: No spoilers.

A/N: Written for Ingrid for the 'write me this pairing in a dysfunctional way' meme. LOL, angst. :'( Post time-skip.

Disclaimer: Insert witty denial of ownership here.

She runs her fingers through his hair; she loves messing up the immaculate bowl cut. She feels him smile against her lips as her lashes brush against his cheeks. She traces lines down his front, feeling the spandex smooth and taut beneath her fingers, and the powerful muscles underneath. His hands are firm on her waist; it is thrilling, heady, and so real she could cry.

Until he speaks.

The bright, hopeful voice that asks her if she would like to go back to his apartment with him would have made a suitable doppelganger years ago, maybe, but now she knows the deep, commanding voice as well as her own, and she knows this will not suffice.

Tenten steps away from Lee, and declines his offer politely.

It is five AM. She has been standing outside Gai's apartment for fifteen minutes.

If she raises her hand, forms a light fist, raps against the cold wood of the door… he will be there, she knows, almost promptly. He will express surprise and happiness at seeing her. He will be a tad sweaty from his early morning workout, but he will invite her in nonetheless. He will offer to make her breakfast, and ask her what is the matter. He will be jovial and kind and firm.

Tenten stares at the door. She can hear him moving about inside, and counting. Her breath hitches, and she raises her hand, slowly. It looks white and fragile in the darkness, and she presses it without sound against the door.

Eventually, she lowers it, though. And closes her eyes.

She is at the training grounds ten minutes later, weapons digging into the red eyes of her targets.

They're doing it again.

She and Neji are sitting on a log nears the fences, drinking water and taking a small break, while Gai and Lee are in the middle of the training grounds, sharing loud, lengthy vows of determination and stamina and a wealth of other things. Neji is sighing and looking at the sky, but Tenten is staring at them intently.

He complimented her today, she muses. Told her that her summoning techniques were getting even more expansive and even more effective. She smiles briefly at the memory of the deeply exuberant voice praising her; the memory of the large hand on her shoulder.

When she realises that she is thinking about it so intently, she scoffs at herself. It is almost… a typical schoolgirl crush, but it alarms her to think of it in those terms. Still…

The sunlight beams down around them, and Gai is laughing.

Eventually, Lee notices her looking. His eyes light up, and he gives a cheery wave. Tenten smiles tightly, and waves back.

A lot of people are surprised when Tenten agrees to go out on a date with Lee the second time around; Tenten is not one of them. Funnily enough, she does not feel ashamed of herself as she might have a few months ago. A little guilty, perhaps.

At the end of the night, at the door to his apartment, she kisses him again, eyes shut tightly, immersing herself in all of the similarities and wishing away all the differences. She cradles his head in her hands, and the arms that wrap around her can be described as nothing but tender. It hurts, how softly he touches her.

She follows him into his apartment, and she knows nothing will come of it. He will spend the night on the couch and she will lie awake in his bed, thinking of dark eyes and darker hair and a deeper voice.


She is in a far corner of the chuunin lounge when she hears the exuberant greeting. She stifles a sigh, because it can only be one of two people, and Lee is on a mission. Despite herself, she smiles, a little.

"Mo, Gai-sensei, you don't have to—"

Before she can fully turn around, a pair of warm strong arms are wrapping around her body, spandex smooth against her skin, hugging her so tight she feels her feet leave the ground for a moment or two. Her face is pressed against a thick neck; she can feel a pulse beating beneath her forehead.

For a few moments, she is still with astonishment. Then she goes red to the roots of her hair, and pounds on her teacher's chest.

"Gai-sensei! Let me go!"

The crushing embrace goes on for a moment longer, and then he pulls away. His chiselled face is split into a wide, wide grin.

"You must forgive my blatant display of affection, Tenten! I could not control myself; I was simply overcome with joy!"

Tenten blinks. He does look a lot more… lively than usual. He is looking down at her so happily… her colour goes even more red, and her heart rate begins to mount steadily in pace.

"Um… why?"

He seems absolutely gleeful that she asked. He crouches a little, and lowers his voice to a conspiratorial whisper, even though no one else is in the lounge.

"I know… about you and Lee!"

He is so happy; grinning down at her with such a proud, fatherly look in his eyes… he does not seem to notice that she goes still, that her smile becomes strained.

"O-oh," she begins, not sure what she should say. "I—"

"Not to worry Tenten!" He winks at her. "I know how the youth of today feel about the subject of love; I shall not reveal your secret to anyone!" A huge thumbs up. "I… have noticed that you have not been your usual youthful self these past few weeks; that is why this new development gladdens me so!" He grasps her by her upper arms, still giving that wide smile. "I cannot tell you the joy it brings me, that two of my beloved students could find love and comfort within each other's arms!"

A few happy tears glimmer in his eyes, and Tenten does not know how to feel. Her stomach feels like a lump of stone, and there is something caught in her throat. No matter how much she swallows, it won't go down. His smile is blinding, and even now, Tenten stares.

When, overcome with emotion, he hugs her again, Tenten brings her arms up to his shoulders, slowly, and hugs back. Her arms tighten across his back; they are trembling slightly.

A/N: Please point out any typos/errors that you see.

And bawww, I'm not writing angst ever again never. (makes herself cry)