A/N: I don't own Naruto, wish I did, but I don't. Big Sadface.
"I really, really hate the rain"
Tenten grumbled aloud to herself as she leapt through the forest on her way home. She was exhausted, filthy, and extremely angry. Her most recent mission, which should have been the simplest, shortest, most basic, mission had turned into a month long trip to hell.
It had all started simply enough, escort a merchant to the closest port city. It was barely a C-Ranked mission, much too easy for a jounin, but she needed a little extra money, and she was bored. Lee and Gai were off on another training mission (which meant they were taking turns climbing up and down mountains) and Neji was off on, yet another, another solo mission. So the 20-year old kunoichi had accepted the mission.
They had set off from Konoha early enough on a bright day, which quickly turned into a cloudy day and then it had started to drizzle. By the next day it turned into a torrential downpour. There were only a day out and she was regretting the mission already.
So, had rained and rained some more, which dampened her senses. Four days from Konoha, they crossed the border. What the merchant had failed to mention when he had signed up for the mission was that he was not just a simple merchant. He was actually taking goods from the mist country and exporting them, and not just any goods, stolen goods. Perfect. She quickly discovered this fact because the instant they left the fire country, they were ambushed by several Mist Shinobi. While they weren't near her skill level, they managed to keep her distracted long enough to snatch her employer and his goods.
She spent the next three weeks tracking them, avoiding patrols, and trying to engage them whenever possible. It quickly became obvious that the ninja that had attacked her were the weakest of the group. There were at least 2 others who rivaled her skills and she was all alone, in unfamiliar territory and It had never once stopped raining. She never before realized just how much she hated the rain until then. Finally, she had managed to figure out a plan and got the merchant back, but the same could not be done for his merchandise.
Once they had arrived at his destination, he informed her that he refused to pay the remaining amount as she Hadn't done her job properly meaning, she hadn't transported his illegal goods. She was blindingly angry, and wanted to do nothing more than to drive a pair of kunai into his eyeballs, but that would do nothing for the reputation of Konoha and she decided to bite her lip, just go home. She hoped one of her friends would be there to take her out for a drink and let her vent her frustrations.
As she jumped from tree to tree she could already imagine the comforts of home that were waiting for her. She desperately wanted to get home to her clean, dry clothes, soft carpeted apartment and most importantly, out of the rain. It was hard to believe that it had rained for almost a month straight, and she decided that if she never saw another drop of it, she'd be happy. Her brown eyes lit up as she started seeing familiar landmarks leading towards home, and it wasn't long before the walls of the Hidden Village of Leaf came into view. She had never been so happy to be home.
The rain had slowed to a drizzle by the time she reached the gates. The two guards that were posted there greeted her with a wave and informed her that the Hokage wanted to see her, the instant she got back. She winced, knowing that she was long overdue and that probably meant she was in for a reprimand. Sighing, and thinking longingly of her apartment she managed to drag herself to Tsunade's office, barely seeing the city around her as she walked.
"Tenten! Come in." she heard Tsunade's impatient tone from the other side of the door that Shizune had just disappeared behind. The brown-haired kunoichi pushed open the door and walked inside, moving to stand in front of the Hokage's desk.
"I understand you ran into some trouble on your most recent assignment"
Understatement of the year, Tenten grumbled mentally
"I suppose so"
"The merchant was transporting goods stolen from the Mist Country", it wasn't a question, and she winced under the disapproving gaze of the blond-haired senin.
How does she know that when I haven't been back for five minutes?
"I would have expected you to be able to handle the situation, but it seems I was mistaken, however, considering it was originally a C-ranked mission, I can't really blame you for being surprised at encountering resistance" the Hokage was watching her with calculating eyes that Tenten didn't seem to notice.
"My apologies Hokage-sama, while I did manage to retrieve the client, his merchandise was lost, I apologize for my failure." said Tenten, trying to cover the shame in her voice, she didn't fail missions, she had come such a long way in recent years, she'd become one of the most reliable combat shinobi in Konoha.
"No matter, regardless of what the client wanted, our relations with the Mist Village are strained to say the least at the moment, its best that they got their goods returned in the end. That, however, is not why I called you here. I have another mission for you." Tenten tried to show no emotion at the news, she had just gotten home, but she was dead tired, still drenched and she was getting another mission. Could her life get any worse?
"You will be going undercover" Tsunade said as she handed a scroll to Tenten,
Great, I just looooove undercover missions
The weapons expert tried to keep herself from rolling her eyes as she unwound the scroll and glanced over the content getting the basics. She would be going undercover to gather information about a group of missing nin who had taken over a small city just outside the far north border of the fire country. She would be working in a team, posing as a married couple, she was a dancer, she grimaced a bit at that. She assumed her partner would be Neji, he usually was on assignments like this. She was so absorbed in reading her mission details she barely caught what Tsunade said next.
"With Hatake Kakashi" Tenten looked up, and stared in shock.
"You will be going with Hatake Kakashi, did I stutter?" the, blond haired Hokage asked with a bit of an edge.
"Well, no, but umm, why isn't Neji going with me? I mean we usually work together on these sorts of things and well isn't Kakashi a bit old for me and isn't he busy and I just got back and I'm not even good at these sort of missions, wouldn't it be better if someone else did it?" she said in the space of less than 3 seconds, desparately trying to get out of going on a mission with of all people, one of the worst perverts in all of Konoha. She didn't even want to THINK about what he would try if he was posing as her husband.
"To answer your questions, Neji is on another mission at the moment, Kakashi is only eleven years older than yourself, nothing so unusual there, he has also recently returned from a mission, and and there are no other kunoichi without a mission at the moment, so you will be going, deal with it, you'll be leaving in two days." Tsunade informed her in a voice that left no chance for argument.
Two hours later found her seated on the floor of Sakura's apartment, with a beer in her hand, watching the other girl run around her apartment, throwing items into her bag as she prepared for a mission of her own. They were on their own, as it seemed that the Hokage was actually telling the truth about there being no other kunoichi in town, both Ino and Hinata were deployed on missions with their team, and Sakura was leaving too.
"I can't believe she'd do that to you!" The pink haired kunoichi yelled from her closet, as she tossed out a set of clothing.
"Well, she said there was no one else, but honestly I think its punishment for screwing up my last mission" Tenten replied, as she pressed the cool glass of her beverage against her forehead.
"I wouldn't be surprised, that woman has a bit of a sadistic streak", she added thoughtfully
"That's an Understatement"
"I suppose so, but at least this mission you won't be getting rained on a muddy anymore, that's a plus, isn't it?"
"I guess, but somehow, having to pretend your sensei is my husband somehow makes rain and mud seem somehow more attractive" she sighed again, dreading her next assignment, not only did she have to pretend Kakashi was her husband, a feat she could not imagine, she had to pretend to be a feminine, meek … dancer. What the hell kind of profession was that? She supposed it would help explain the way she moved, most civilians didn't move with the level of comfort with their own bodies. It would probably be the best way to cover up something she couldn't hide.
"Well, I mean, Kakashi-sensei isn't all that Unattractive, I mean I guess when you're used to staring an Neji-kun all the time he may not seem that attractive in comparison, but at least its not Lee!"
Tenten shuddered at the momentary mental image of her posing as Lee's wife, the wrongness of it caused her brain to shut down for a second.
"Ew. Sakrua that's just wrong"
"You know what part,"
"Yeah, sorry for that" the other girl said as she finished putting her supplies in a pack. "Well I'm done here now, all ready for the morning, shouldn't you be getting packed for your mission?"
"Tsunade said my wardrobe would be provided for me, whatever that means" she said with a sigh
"It means she doesn't trust your fashion sense" stated Sakura matter-of-factly.
"Oh," Tenten said dumbly, then looked down at herself "What's wrong with my clothes?"
"Oh nothing, if you're planning on running around throwing knives at boys"
"Well… that's what I-"
"Yes I know, but that's not what you're supposed to be doing, honestly you're 20 years old, you really should grow out of this tomboy thing at some point"
"Right." said Tenten with a grimace, it wasn't that she didn't like being a woman, she just never had the time or desire to act like one, training always seemed more important. In fact, whenever a shopping trip was suggested by Ino and Sakura she always managed to be as far away as possible.
"I really should be better at this stuff by now, I mean this isn't my first undercover mission"
"Well, it isn't, but you're used to working with your team, an not as so much of a girly girl, and pretending to be with Neji which I would think would be much easier than pretending to be with Kakashi-sensei. What's with you and Neji anyway, he's been gone a lot lately, I thought you were … you know"
Tenten sighed, she knew the other girl was prying for new gossip to share with Ino, between the two of them those girls new every piece of juicy news there was in Konoha.
"Its nothing, I think I was starting to get through the ice-wall, after that mission a couple of months ago, you remember when I was injured? Well, he stayed with me, but I don't know, I do have feelings for him, but I don't know if I want to keep getting hurt until he finally figures himself out." She sighed and rubbed her temples. The past years with Neji had been getting progressively more difficult. She had liked him since they were first put on a team together, who wouldn't? He was the model of heart-throb, good looking, intelligent, not to mention a shinobi genius. He was cold at first, but after his defeat by Naruto in the chunin exams, he had warmed up significantly, and they had become very good friends.
Now it seemed like they waded somewhere in the murky waters between attraction, teammates, friendship, a sibling-like relationship, acquaintances and lately all out ignoring. "All in all, I would describe it as… complicated, and I don't know if I want complicated, you know?"
"Tenten, you're talking to ME, I know all about complicated!" Sakura replied with a half grin.
Tenten was glad her friend had matured some about her stubborn infatuation with Uchiha Sasuke, but she never understood why the girl loved someone who obviously did not have an interest in a relationship with her, whatever his reasons.
"I suppose you're right," she sighed and pulled herself up from the floor.
"You ready to go?"
"Yeah, I'm starved"
She'd only momentarily stopped by her apartment to change and shower before heading out to find someone to let her blow off some steam and she had yet to eat, so she'd talked Sakura into joining her for a 'last meal' before they both headed out on separate missions.
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