Disclaimer: Naruto is much better off without me. Believe it.
There had been a 'poof!' and shadowy figures leaping away as she held her breath for as long as she could, keeping close to the ground and trying to find her way as quickly as possible out of the strange cloud surrounding her . If it was a contact poison, there was nothing she could do, but Tenten wasn't feeling any ill effects yet. She abandoned the ground as the mist began to settle and launched herself high into the air, scroll ready.
From her vantage point hovering above the tall trees of the eastern forest of Konohagakure , she saw no sign of the ninja trio she had been pursuing. Her teeth clenched. Mission failed.
"Feel any different?" Sakura inquired in a way that made her wary. Tenten was sitting on a hospital bed after a full checkup for any traces of poison in her system, or manifestation of some hostile jutsu used on her.
"You mean aside from defeated?" Tenten asked flatly.
"Oh come on," the girl with pink hair scoffed, "It was a B-rank mission that turned A, and you were solo. No one could ask for more than what you did to detain them. You're lucky they didn't kill you."
"So what DID they do to me?" Tenten asked, suspicious. "You were awfully quiet during the checkup."
Sakura hedged, indecision in her face. "It's nothing fatal Tenten."
"But? You could use a little work on your bedside manner Sakura. 'It's nothing fatal' is hardly a calming statement."
"But," the medic stared hard at Tenten, "My only conclusion is that they had nothing else on hand to use on you. So they threw some of the drug they were smuggling to help the effect of the smoke bomb to cover their escape. You did say you'd fought them down to their last kunai."
"Sure," Tenten shrugged. During a fight, she was very aware of how many weapons enemy shinobi had on them. No one would ever outnumber her in that category. When she saw that this was something she could use to her advantage during the mission, she'd hassled and pursued them relentlessly into throwing everything they had at her, and she had easily deflected and trashed all their weapons (which had been pitifully few to begin with, in her opinion) until they had been running like rabbits with her on their tail. She didn't know where they'd whipped out that final smoke bomb, but it had been a doozy.
"So what were they smuggling? Opium?" Tenten doubted this, as it was very easy to recognize opium. Something else then.
Sakura sighed. "You'll laugh."
The pink-haired jounin told her, and Tenten began to laugh.
"So," Neji used his Byakugan to scan her as she cooperated and stood still, "What did the 'mystery cloud' contain?"
"An aphrodisiac, apparently."
He took a visible step back, Byakugan instantly deactivating. "A-"
"Yup," Tenten hummed, stepping closer to him with a wicked smile. This was very unlike the Tenten he knew. "Pretty high grade stuff, there's a rare animal from the deeper jungles of Lightning Country whose horn is ground to a fine powder and used in potions to get people, hm, in the mood."
"Uh," Neji did not want to point it out, but Tenten was sniffing him. Or was it nuzzling? "Is there a- remedy?"
"Oh, Sakura said it would just need to run its course," she sighed and ran a hand through his hair, as if unaware of what she was doing, "Take care of me in the meantime, okay Neji? She said I'd be pretty vulnerable to... certain urges... for a while."
"Urges," he repeated, stalling for time as she gazed deeply into his eyes, smiling in that soft way she had. "How long a while?" he finally managed to say.
"I don't know, it was a big cloud," she pouted, the act nearly touching her bottom lip to his. Neji gulped and backpedaled.
"I have training with Hiashi-sama in a short while," he grasped at some semblance of thought as she edged closer again.
"Oh?" her disappointment showed. "Well, ok. I'll stay in my apartment. Lots of weapons just the right size there."
"Just the right-" he went red, then pale, then red again.
"It's not as enticing alone though," she murmured to herself thoughtfully. Then her eyes brightened, "I have a better idea! I'll go find Gai-sensei and Lee! Those two should be able to counter-act any aphrodisiac effect I feel, no matter how potent."
Neji heaved a sigh of relief, but knew he wouldn't be able to forget the idea of Tenten with 'weapons just the right size' anytime soon. "Yes, you should go find them."
"They'll be all sweaty, and panting so loudly, and those muscles will be rippling under their green jumpsuits," Tenten agreed happily, "And you know how embarrassingly those outfits cling to them in certain places, It will be so hard not to stare. Well, they do get annoying sometimes, but maybe I could suggest some special indoors training..." she stopped and shook her head to clear it, "Huh.." she waved farewell to the now-scandalized Neji and began to wander away in a daze, mumbling to herself, "Maybe I'll go look for one of the girls to hang out with... Sakura's got such a gentle touch... and Ino always looks so pretty..."
Tenten contemplated writing her own version of the Icha Icha novels. It was more fun than she'd ever thought it would be, having an excuse to be so suggestive to her team mate.
She swung her legs idly as she sat on the branch of a tree overlooking Team Gai's old training grounds. They had grown up to become a formidable group, doing their part in erasing the remnants of the Akatsuki and foiling Uchiha Madara's plan to hunt down all the Tailed Beasts, bringing peace back to the land. While they still got together for a good round of sparring that pretty much destroyed the landscape, they usually did that in the more remote areas of the Hidden Village , leaving this area for the next generation of genin teams to train in. Wanting to avoid any chuunin and jounin her age, Tenten had checked and found the grounds empty, which was exactly what she wanted. It was a good place to think and enjoy the feeling that, because of her, her unflappable team mate was completely disturbed.
"An aphrodisiac," Tenten spluttered, shaking her head "The things people do to compensate."
"Medically, it does have the slight effect of stimulating the area of the brain associated with libido, but really," Sakura made a face as Tenten continued to laugh, "I agree. The things people do."
"Well, I feel bad for the animals they killed to acquire this stupid powder. I hope they lost it all during the fight, and I really hope they get caught when the reach the border of Fire," Tenten stretched, still marveling at the lengths some people went to for sex, "I suppose I've got a clean bill of health then."
"Well, the chemical will be in your system for a few more hours, but it won't be any problem," Sakura let her go.
"Give me weapons anytime," she confided to a squirrel that chittered by her side, "Or dumplings. Dumplings are the key to my heart. Or in my pants. Whatever guys are after."
"It's pants usually." the squirrel spoke, and Tenten nearly fell out of the tree. Her kunai was in mid-swing before she recognized the silver-haired teacher of Team 7 smiling at her, "Yo."
"Kakashi-sensei," she clutched at her chest, blaming the aphrodisiac for making her heart beat erratically fast, "What's with the squirrel act?"
"Word got out you're easy," he waggled a lone eyebrow at her, "Fancy a quickie?"
Tenten stared. "Is this a genjutsu?" she formed the requisite seal and re-channeled her chakra, "Kind of unfair to pose as a squirrel, sensei, I was trained to avoid eye contact and predict movement from watching human feet, not squirrel paws."
"Precisely," he was still there even after her 'Kai!'. "In that sense Gai's technique of thwarting the sharingan is deficient. However, this isn't a genjutsu." His happy eye crease made her suspicious.
"So you did just ask me if I wanted to have a quickie."
"Since you freaked out the Hyuuga so much he actually went to Gai and warned him they had a man-eater on their team. A woman-eater as well, if his dark hints are to be believed. I happened to be standing there when your team mate told Gai, and being the concerned co-teacher that I am-"
"You just want to know if I'm bi, don't you." Tenten knew crap when she heard it, even if he did not litter his statements with 'springtime' and 'youth'. She heard they had been thinking of making him Hokage. What was the world coming to.
"Are you?" he asked very innocently. Tenten raised an eyebrow and decided to try her 'wanton' act on the older man. Crawling towards him, she raised her face close to his own so their noses were almost touching, simulating a sultry gaze as she did so. He leered back at her quite lecherously, and she was forced to retreat. There was no competing with a master.
"I'll tell you, if you actually train me," she huffed. "I was serious about the genjutsu."
"I can't presume to teach someone else's student," Kakashi raised his hands to decline.
"Kakashi," Tenten whined, "Sensei." she added for good measure, "I'm not really his student anymore. And even so, you would be supplementing my training, not usurping his."
"Big words," Kakashi was impressed, not really.
"I'll read Icha Icha Paradise to you out loud. With feeling," she offered. "My voice can be very expressive."
That actually stumped him for a while.
"That's one of the nicest things anyone's ever thought of doing for me," the Copy Nin looked almost touched. "I'm very tempted." Tenten found she quite enjoyed this conversation. Maybe Kakashi was really just secretly laughing at her, but he had pretended to come on to her first, so she wouldn't back down from the challenge.
"What genjutsu would you like to be trapped in?" his voice was teasing and she fought her blush.
"Anything with you in it is fine," she shot back, then grinned, "and yummy, sweet dumplings of course. And maybe rope, feathers, and a whip." She peaked her own interest at the image, there was potential here. "Or chains perhaps..."
"Hn," his eye narrowed and suddenly Kakashi was moving closer to her, and invading her personal space, "I see. Your apartment or mine then? Or would you rather do it here in this tree?"
"A-hehe-, you're the teacher," Tenten wanted to shrug but it was hard to do while backing away in panic until her back was flush against the trunk, "So, are we good?"
"Well," and to her immense shock, he placed a large, warm hand on her thigh. "It really depends how serious you are about this, Tenten." His hand began to inch up caressingly towards-
"Kakashi-sensei," she firmly grabbed the hand and deftly bent the ring finger backwards to near-breaking point, She stared straight into the visible portion of his pained face, "I'm not easy. The standard procedure is dinner and dating. For months. Maybe even years. We can flirt, we can joke around, but I'm not one for casual flings. I would be fine if I died tomorrow without ever having had sex with you, or anyone else." She smiled sadly, "The flirting was going so well, too."
"Yes, it was," Kakashi said, but it wasn't his voice anymore. Tenten goggled as there was another 'poof!' and very familiar pale eyes now stared back at her.
"I was wondering why you didn't mention weapons of just the right size as part of the genjutsu description," Neji lightly removed his hand from her grip, and brought it to rest beside her head on the tree trunk, "Do you flirt so outrageously with all the men?"
"Neji," Tenten was running over her entire interaction with 'Kakashi' in her head and could not believe it had been Neji saying and doing all those things. Her expression hardened, with so many henges being performed, she couldn't be sure who this was anymore, "If you really are Neji, what kind of underwear am I wearing?"
There was a dismal attempt to activate his bloodlimit, but Neji nosebled before he could complete it.
"Sakura asked you to keep an eye on me?"
He nodded silently, still holding a handkerchief to his nose. "I overheard the last part of your conversation with the Hyuuga. He didn't even notice me after you left. That was real torture for the guy, you know."
"Hmph," Tenten crossed her arms, "There's taking it slow and there's completely clueless. I've been waiting for him to make his move for years. I think it's time I started exploring my options."
"Hn," this sound was more difficult to make than one would think, considering the bloody nose, "Did you have to hit me though?"
"I know the difference between activating a byakugan and a sharingan Sasuke," Tenten sighed, although she sounded apologetic, "Who knows what dastardly deeds you would have perpetrated against me while in the thrall of your doujutsu?"
The Uchiha smirked. "What makes you think I'm even interested?"
"Right," Tenten said amiably, "Far be it from me to interfere with your romantic relationship with Sakura. Why else would you so obediently follow her orders to shadow me?"
"We're not-" he cut himself off and scowled at Tenten. The smackdown that had happened when Sakura had very definitely rejected Sasuke after he came back to Konoha was the stuff of legend. They had patched things up and were now friends again, but it was also known that the Uchiha was trying, and dismally failing, to woo her back.
"You'll get no sympathy from me," Tenten taunted, "We girls stick together."
"How stuck?" he was back on that 'bisexual' issue.
"More stuck than you can handle," Tenten said airily. "Although," she gave him a look that raised his hackles, "there are possibilities to this."
His eyes drooped in a way that feigned boredom, but in reality his mind was working to figure out her train of thought.
"Yeah," Tenten gave a slow wink, "If we 'date', Neji and Sakura might get jealous and finally come to their senses about us."
"Or they could end up together," his voice was somewhat caustic. "I've seen this movie."
"Then you and she were never meant to be," Tenten berated, "It was just an offer to help, you know." She didn't doubt why Sakura had rejected this man, what a wet blanket! He and Neji ought to hang out and dry. She shrugged, "I don't really care either way, I'm just single and available after all."
"I liked your other offer better. You do have an expressive voice, I've noticed." Her cheeks tinged pink and he would have snickered but laughing hurt. "You're a strange one, you know that? Years of dating?"
"If someone is worth doing, then he's worth doing well," Tenten mouthed Ino's favorite motto, as Sasuke choked, "I believe that entails getting to know him completely first."
"If we try this… ploy, you'd be betraying two persons who are close to you. And you just said you didn't sympathize with me and would rather back up Sakura."
"I have something to gain from this though. Sakura's best interests come second." She had the nerve to look prim and self-righteous.
"And you aren't one for casual flings," he was ever on the alert for a hidden motive. Too many years of fangirl glomping made him paranoid. She gave him a dry look, but he persisted. "What are we supposed to be having?"
"A highly enjoyable challenge," she retorted, tongue-in-cheek. "An elaborate hoax. An act of pity on your part, towards my poor, unpopular self." He snorted, and winced.
"Yes." Sasuke stood up, and held out a hand to help her to her feet, "Tenten, would you go out with me?"
Everyone thought Tenten had thrown herself at Sasuke while under the influence of the aphrodisiac, and that he, for reasons of being a hot-blooded male, had been unable to resist her. His subsequent initiative in taking her out on dates and training with her, however, defied explanation. By the time Sakura and Neji had become good and jealous and teamed up to reclaim what was rightfully theirs, Sasuke and Tenten were in love for real and were inseparable.
"Foursome?" Tenten suggested.
Perhaps the aphrodisiac had nothing to do with it. Tenten had simply grown up.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed it! Interlude to follow in next chapter.