A/N: There still aren't enough LeeHina fics. Come on, writers, let's get to it. It's a challenging but workable couple, you all should really try it.
This was, ironically, inspired by a NejiTen RPG my sister and I did, that reminded me of a KakaIru fic I read and loved, that made me think it would be fun to do a LeeHina long-fic with a similar but totally different plot. Sort of a round about way of getting an idea, no?
Title taken from the Dierks Bentley song of the same name which has absolutely nothing to do with the story. I just thought it was a great title, and a pretty good song.
Special thanks goes out to my friend Innocent Rebel for helping me brain storm this one. Without her, most of these ideas would not have come to fruitation.
Disclaimer: All characters you recognize are property of Masashi Kishimoto. I am just borrowing for my own amusement, and putting this up where you can read in the hopes you get some too.
Summary: An undercover mission of vital importance throws together an unlikely pair of Ninja—Twenty-year-old Rock Lee and the nineteen-year-old Hyuuga heir, Hinata. Posing as a couple of newlywed school teachers, they'll have to keep their wits about them to fulfill their mission, while also getting to know each other. Eventual LeeHina, with hints of NejiTen.
Chapter 1: An Unlikely Duo
Hinata couldn't remember the last time she had been this nervous. She had to fold her hands together in her lap to keep them from shaking. Maybe that was a little ridiculous, because there wasn't really any reason to be frightened of the Hokage, but she couldn't help it. She had only just made Jounin rank a couple of weeks ago, so this summons to see Tsunade could mean her very first A-rank mission. A part of her sincerely hoped otherwise, as she did not feel ready in spite of her recent promotion.
Naruto, who had seemed to more and more be replacing Shizune as Tsunade's assistant, poked his head out the door and grinned at her.
It had been three years since she had confessed her feelings to him that fateful day on the battle field, but so far he had never mentioned it to her and Hinata had not been able to broach the topic with him either. As it was, it still hurt every time his bright smile was turned her way.
"We're all ready for you in here," Naruto said, motioning to her with one arm before disappearing back inside. The young Hyuuga sighed, standing from where she had been seated on the ground outside the large oak doors that lead into the Hokage's office and slipping through the crack Naruto had left during his retreat.
Tsunade was sitting behind her desk, the evening sun making her golden hair shimmer around her head like a holy light. Naruto had taken his now customary place at Tsunade's right hand while Shizune stood behind her to the left. It was the fourth person in the room that took Hinata by surprise. There, in front of the desk, stood none other than Might Guy.
No. She blinked back the sunlight that was shining in her eyes. Not Neji-niisan's former sensei, but his teammate. Rock Lee. He'd grown taller and filled out quite a bit since they were children, and it was easier to mistake the two now more than ever. There were subtle differences, though, like the round shape and green color of Lee's eyes where Guy-sensei's were square and brown, and the fact that Lee was now taller than even his former teacher had been.
He waved at her happily, teeth sparkling in the golden rays of the fading sun. "Hello, Hinata-san. I hope this evening finds you well."
"Q-quite, thank you," she managed to stutter, glancing over at Tsunade with some relief. If Rock Lee was here, that meant it couldn't be that high of a rank. Lee was strong, everyone knew that, but he was still only a special Jounin and an Academy teacher at that.
Lee's inability to perform jutsu, from what Neji-niisan had told her, had to do with the fact that his chakra lacked an element. Without the ability to control at least two elements, Lee could not fulfill the basic Jounin requirements and had never been promoted, even though most of the rest of the Konoha 11 had. Instead, and Neji-niisan had always suspect as an attempt to please Guy, Tsunade had increased the Academy graduation requirements in Taijutsu and asked Lee to be a teacher specifically for that class.
According to TenTen, Lee constantly complained about it but secretly loved it. Neji-niisan didn't seem convinced of the second part.
"You should take a seat, Hinata," Tsunade gestured toward the chair in front of the desk, and Hinata slid silently into it.
Once she was seated, Lee bowed low. "I can see you are busy, Tsunade-sama. I will be taking my leave then."
Immediately, Hinata felt her heart pounding in her chest once more. Lee being here had been her one comfort that things were alright. If Lee left anything could happen. They could send her on a solo mission. Tsunade might even tell her that her promotion had been a mistake, and they were revoking her back to Chuunin rank. She had been waiting for someone to do that since she'd passed the Jounin trials.
"As fascinating as your report on your students was, Lee, you didn't really think that was the only reason I called you here today, did you?" Tsunade steeped her fingers in front of her face, barely concealing a grin.
Lee blinked at her in confusion for a moment before resuming his attentive stance. "I suppose not, Hokage-sama."
Tsunade hmmed quietly, looking between the two of them as if measuring something. Hinata tried her hardest not to fidget, though it was difficult. Her father had always snapped his fingers on her head and told her that such motions were a sign of weakness, but she couldn't help it when she was nervous like this. She tried to remind herself that Naruto was watching, but it didn't have the same affect it used to. Whatever he thought now, she could not change it.
Without any indication as to whether or not what she saw in them pleased her, Tsunade leaned back further in her chair, and watched them over her fingers as the sun set behind her. "You are sure the area is secure, Naruto-kun?"
Naruto nodded from his place by the Hokage's side while Shizune brought a chair over for Lee, his warm face now all business as he watched them critically. In spite of herself, Hinata felt her heart swell with pride for him. This was the Naruto she always knew was there, and the one that would one day make the best Hokage the village had ever seen. "As sure as can be."
With a final nod, Tsunade finally lowered her hands. "What have you two heard about the recent death of Gushiken Hideo?"
"Not much," Lee shrugged beside her. "I know he was a teacher when Guy-sensei was in school, and he was quite old."
Hinata nodded. That was about as much as she knew as well. Her father had guessed that he'd died of natural causes, and the few whispers of poison going around were the result of too many bored ninja and not enough missions in this time of peace.
"And Yunokawa Kasumi? Have you heard anything about her death?"
"No, Hokage –sama," Hinata whispered, looking down at her hands. It was comforting to see Lee shake his head out of the corner of her eye. If this was a test, at least she was not failing alone.
"I'm not surprised," Tsunade smiled at them, though it didn't seem like a happy or comforting one. "She was a Chuunin of no exceptional skill, about the age Uchiha Itachi would've been now. The autopsy report ruled her death an accidental drowning, as she had quite a lot of alcohol in her blood. She was swimming with some friends in the river when she disappeared, and she was found floating downstream the next morning."
Gulping reflexively, Hinata struggled to shake the image of a floating body out of her head. She was a Jounin now; death should not bother her as much as it still did. Even so, that poor woman had been too young to die so carelessly.
Beside her, Lee had started bouncing his legs nervously, clenching and unclenching his hands. "If the cause of death has already been decided, Tsunade-sama, why are you telling this to us?"
"Because we have evidence that what was decided is not what happened," Tsunade's hazel eyes flashed nearly red in the fading light. "It was related to the passing of Hideo, as well as the deaths of Uemura Masuyo, Temko Nori, and Nishiwaki Juro."
"A serial killer?" Hinata asked, her voice barely a whisper and Lee sat up straighter beside her.
Tsunade face twisted into a kind of furious smirk. "They were all ninja of different rank, skill, and specialties."
"But they were all ninja," Naruto finished, his own face a dark mirror of his mentor's. "Konoha ninja without clans or blood limits. That's the only connection."
Lee cocked his head to the side, obviously curious. "You want us to investigate?"
"Not exactly." Shizune muttered, and for the first time Hinata saw the pitying look on her face. Once again, Tsunade was doing something against Shizune's better judgment. Even if Tsunade's decisions were usually for the better, Hinata couldn't help feeling bad for the woman. She tried so hard to do what was right all the time.
"We believe we know already who is behind the deaths. Some of our top shinobi have been investigating, including both of your teachers." Tsunade shook her head as Lee grinned, seemingly thrilled with being allowed on the same mission as Guy-sensei, though they often worked together and their ranks were nearly identical. "What we need you two to do is find us the concrete proof."
"Of course, Hokage-sama." And, somehow, though the sun was gone now Lee's teeth sparkled almost painfully as he gave Tsunade a thumb-up and jumped to his feet. "You can count on me and Hinata-san to exert the power of our youth and finish the mission our illustrious elders have started."
"Lee," Tsunade muttered her face the very picture of exasperation as Hinata smothered a giggle behind her hand. Those speeches were the exact reason that, despite the years on her cousin's team, she did not know Lee very well. Neji-niisan had always been hesitant to bring him home lest he launch into one and get them both killed for saying something wrong.
"Like the springtime flower conquers the icy frost of old winter, we will leap forth with our power blazing and destroy this threat to our illustrious village."
"Lee-kun, we're not done." Shizune tried, reaching one hand out to the young man in a motion to stop, but she was either not seen or ignored.
"We will strive with all our power to overcome this most treacherous enemy and…"
"Hey, Bushy brows!" Naruto growled, though his blue eyes were laughing. "Will ya shut up a minute and let the old lady finish?"
Hinata had to bite down another giggle as Lee blinked, obviously confused at having been interrupted mid-rant, and nodded as he sat down slowly.
"I'm afraid it isn't as simple as running out there and just catching the bad guy." Tsunade glared at Naruto briefly before looking at them again. "Our problem is that we strongly suspect that the person behind the murders is the new Daimyo of Fire Country."
Probably, she should have gasped at that. It really was quite a dramatic revelation. As it was she was so surprised that she couldn't even do that much.
"The-the daimyo?" Lee gaped, swallowing loudly.
"Yes. These deaths have only started in the last few months, and there is further evidence that will be provided to you in your mission scrolls that will be given to you before you leave." Tsunade shook her head and waved one hand as if brushing those details aside. "The daimyo has publicly stated he thinks that ninja cause more wars than they prevent, and that given the opportunity he would rid himself of them. Our intelligence leads us to believe that's exactly what he's doing."
Something dark, malicious even, crossed Tsunade's face as she picked a scroll up from off the corner of her desk. "Ironically, the daimyo has requested the service of one of our ninja to be a nanny for his children. He seems to think it's cost effective to have a body guard and a baby-sitter all in one person. That is where you two come in."
"U-us, Hokage-sama?" Hinata whispered pitifully, pulling one hand to rest against her lip. She knew it was a horrible give away of how frightened she was, but it was comforting none the less.
A sharp nod from Tsunade made Hinata's stomach fall to her toes. "Hinata, you fit the daimyo's request perfectly. Well-bred, well-mannered, soft spoken, good with children, and a ninja of at least Jounin rank. We are sending you to fulfill the daimyo's request, and to spy on him until you have proof that he is behind these seemingly random deaths inside the village's very walls."
It felt like all the blood was being drained out the hole her stomach had left when it fell, as she was suddenly light-headed and was afraid for a moment she was going to return to her childhood habit of fainting under extreme pressure. Her? They wanted her, of all people, to spy on the daimyo? Did they realize they were putting the fate of the village in the hands of one of the most incompetent kunoichi in Konoha history? Her father and the elders always seemed surprised when she came back from a mission alive, and with good reason. How was she, of all people, going to manage the task they'd set before her? Tsunade would be much better off sending TenTen.
Except TenTen was none of the things requested, except for her rank. She was not well-bred, her manners left much to be desired, she was louder than Lee and Guy-sensei put together on occasion, and the simplest baby sitting missions could reduce Neji-niisan's best friend to near tears. Ino, too, was too loud to ever be called soft spoken, and Sakura was too short tempered to deal with children.
That ruled out all the kunoichi she knew personally, as Kurenai-sensei's daughter was still too young for her to leave for extended missions outside the village. Surely, though, there had to be someone else? Anyone more qualified than she was for such an important task. The fate of life as she knew it depended on the success of this.
Lee was nodding thoughtfully beside her, a worn notebook clutched in his left hand. "It makes sense to send Hinata-san, Tsunade-sama." Hinata shot him a betrayed look almost on reflex, her last hope that there was someone in this room that could see what a mistake this was dying with his words. "But why are you including me if the daimyo has only requested one shinobi? Won't he get suspicious if you send a team?"
"We aren't sending a team. We're sending a married couple."
It took several rather loud and painful heartbeats for Hinata to process what the Hokage's words meant. She wasn't married. She'd never even dated.
Tsunade continued as if the silence in the room had not suddenly gained several pounds in shock and awkwardness. "Court protocol requires that anyone dealing directly with the daimyo's children be married. As Hinata is not, we're going to have to fix that before you leave at the end of the week. Naruto and Neji put their heads together, and came up with Lee as the best choice to act as the new husband."
The words she'd had prepared to protest escaped Hinata as it was revealed Neji-niisan had known about this, leaving her resembling a fish with her mouth hanging open but no sound escaping her lips. She felt betrayed; that Neji-niisan could decide something as important as this without even asking her opinion on the matter. If they had to send a man to pretend to be her husband—something she would have preferred some warning about, thank you very much—why not Kiba, someone she knew better and was much more comfortable with?
Well, actually, that was an easy one. Kiba had dated TenTen, however briefly, and ever since then Neji-niisan hadn't liked him very much.
The fact that Naruto, too, had been in on it was just the icing of humiliation on her embarrassment cake.
Whatever stupefied silence Lee had been in, he chose that moment to recover from it as he was once more on his feet, flailing his arms around wildly. "Tsunade-sama, you can't be serious. Marriage is a scared act! A profession of true love. To defile it, even if it's only in claim…"
"We're not claiming anything." Tsunade said, raising a hand to inspect her nails like none of this mattered. Hinata felt her eyebrow twitch in irritation, something that didn't happen often. Was this woman getting some kind of pleasure out of playing with their lives like this? And to think she had always trusted the Hokage before. "The daimyo will certainly look into the ninja we send, so their records must be flawless. Another reason for sending you two. And their wedding will certainly have to be real."
The flailing stopped as all color drained from Lee's face. It was almost funny, and probably would have been more so if Hinata didn't currently feel like she was having an out of body experience. This couldn't really be happening to her. It just couldn't.
"Real," Lee's voice came out something of a squeak. He swallowed, ignoring Naruto's snort of laughter, before continuing. "You are ordering us to marry for real?"
"For the extent of this mission, yes. If the papers happen to get destroyed afterwards, erasing all traces, well then all the better for your future relationships." Tsunade looked up at them, the amused sparkle gone from her eyes. "The point at the moment is, Lee, that against your principals as it may be, you're the only ninja even close to Hinata's age that Neji thinks he can talk Hiashi into trusting with his daughter's safety and," she paused here as the amusement returned briefly, "other things is you."
Hinata felt her face flame with color as Naruto laughed again. What she wouldn't give to have someone come in and attempt to assassinate Tsunade right now. Then she could at least die a hero by stopping them instead of from embarrassment. Lee just standing there, looking bewildered, was the last thing Hinata saw before she buried her face in her hands.
They were really going to force her to marry Lee. Not that she didn't think he was a nice person, but he was more or less a stranger to her, an acquaintance and occasional sparring partner at best. Perhaps it would only be in name, and only temporarily, but they would have to act like a married couple. She was going to have to kiss, to perhaps even share her bed, for the first time in her life with a man. One she barely knew and certainly didn't love. Once her father got word of this, he was going to blow a fuse.
Her father. Now, there was something she might be able to use. "Tsu-tsunade-sama, I d-don't think my father will a-approve of this at all. H-He will be very angry at this idea…"
"Leave Hiashi to me," there was no hiding of Tsunade's smirk this time. "I've been handling your father since he was barely potty trained, Hinata. I know how to make him do these things."
She could only sit back, momentarily stunned as her last fleeting hope died out. How was she supposed to argue with that?
"Guy-sensei," Lee started, looking hopelessly around at them all one at a time.
Tsunade held up a preemptive hand to silence him. "Has already said he'd be happy to perform the ceremony on Thursday if it pleases you both."
Lee collapsed backwards in his chair, his eyes wide and body limp in what Hinata could only assume was as much shock as she felt. Thursday left them only three days to prepare for what was probably the worst and most important mission of their lives.
Later, Hinata was proud to say she didn't faint. She just tended to never mention how she broke down in tears.