Written for the LJ community thirtyforthree.

Theme: 16 - Pillows

Fandom/Pairing: Naruto - NejiTentenLee

Title: Child's Play

Author: Lell

Rating: PG-13 – vague sexual content

Disclaimer: None of this belongs to me and maybe the world's a better place because of that, but it doesn't make me feel any better. Not mine, children!

Summary: The moon is high in the sky and, away from prying eyes, Team Gai can pretend that love isn't just something for those with nothing better to do than dream.

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The moon is high in the sky.

Outside, the world carries on, just like it always does. Somewhere, people are dying. Somewhere, people are alone. Somewhere, people are looking up at this very same moon and wondering just what lies in its dark face…

The stars are shining like pinpricks of ice and the children are playing at love.

They're sinking in pillows, rumpled sheets ruining the strict order of a well-made bed. Just down the hall, Tenten's parents are sleeping, but she's too giddy on lust and love to care and, hell, they're ninjas. They can be quiet.

Or at least seal off her room so that this is a private world of their own.

They're too young to be doing this if the adult world with adult morals and adult restrictions is to be believed. Neji doesn't. If the girl who's not beautiful, but real, and the boy who will never be handsome, yet burns with fire are old enough to kill (and have) then love shouldn't be so hard for them.

Love exists for idealists, but he humours them with his tolerance.

Lee wonders if this is what Gai-sensei meant by enlightenment. Having Neji close by with his silky skin and eyes-you-could-drown-in and Tenten even closer with his hand on her cheek and hair unbound for once. He can feel her breath on his fingers, the boneless trust in her limbs and he knows that, for them, nothing is too dear a price.

Tenten, he would die for and Neji he would kill for, but he'd rather live for the both of them.

Neji watches with interest as Tenten twists onto her hands and knees, uncaring for her state of undress as she prowls towards Lee. She looks wicked and wild, all ruffled hair and naked skin, but she's still a girl even if he's known every part of her.

She's a girl and Neji's only young in body and Lee has the heart of a child. It's a game that should be new to them, but isn't and maybe that's a sin…

Don't ninja grow up fast?

"I love you," Tenten's whispering and there's heat in her voice. "I love you and if you ever leave me…" She pauses and Lee looks down at her. What he sees is admiration and challenge, possessiveness and a love too strong to be real. "I'll run a thousand laps and never come back."

He laughs at her tease and before Tenten can move, she's on her back. Lee pins her down and she can feel the laughter in his lean frame, so she follows suit, pressing kiss after kiss to his temple because did you know that you can get drunk on a person?


Neji's here – he always has been – so she beckons to him with a hand scarred and callused, but he takes it and brushes his lips over the webs between her fingers. She shivers and even her ordinary face turns beautiful when her soul shines out of her eyes, just because they've reached the point where it's impossible to lie.

"And how many laps would you run, Neji?" Lee's voice is rough and amused. Neji disapproves vaguely and he ignores the question, but he does work his way with precision down Tenten's arm and if his hip brushes against Lee's side, then that's fate isn't it?

They're all broken.

Lee doesn't know the smell or crackle of chakra. Tenten sees the world with a girl's idealism. Neji knows that there was once a good chance of losing his own sanity. But Tenten lets her chakra seep over Lee's skin once in a while with the intimacy of sharing lifeforce. Neji strips away the flaws in Tenten's vision and forces her to leave childhood weaknesses behind. Lee is Neji's anchor in this world though he's loath to admit it.

They're all broken, but together they have the chance at pulling all the pieces back together and making something new, better.

Lee can feel Neji, warm at his side. Beneath him, Tenten matches him limb for limb, but not for long because as the days go by, he can almost feel his bones lengthening and strengthening, and Gai-sensei was right about how youth was glorious because youth made anything possible.

With youth, these three children can stay together forever and never.

Tenten chuckles and rubs her cheek against Lee's, crooning something unintelligible and probably made up of nonsense. Neji sniffs and tries to look aloof, but even his poise is ruined when she whacks him gently with the pillow, trying to get him to join in the game.

When Neji sets about proving his pride, Lee just laughs and the sound floats towards the window.

The stars are brighter than ever and the moon is high in the sky…

…and the children are playing at love because, when tomorrow comes, it could be the end for one of them and this time together is precious in its uncertainty.

What do children know of love?


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Inspired by Tori Amos' 'Toast.' Not allowed to quote it, but look up lyrics if you can. Or, even better, yoink it from someone and give it a listen.