Disclaimer: I don't own Naruto or any of the characters.

This takes place during the time skip, a year before Naruto returns.

~An Apple~


Tenten gritted her teeth, one eye forced shut as she clutched her side. The ninja before her chuckled as he slowly walked toward her, the wakizashi in each of his hands glinted in the sunlight. She took a protective step back, hand reaching for the clasp that wasn't there. She scowled at the huge scroll propped on the other side of the field.

Her hand travelled to her hip pouch and she fingered the two scrolls within, the side of her hand lightly brushing another object. Her jutsu wouldn't work if he could deflect with his swords. Tenten bit her lip. Close range wasn't her strength, but she had to take a chance. She charged and watched as her opponent assumed an offensive stance. There was a good chance that her idea would work, based on earlier observations, his aura seemed intimidating, but he was no better with those swords than a beginner.

He made a strong uppercut and she leaped back. Tenten quickly lurched forward, catching both of his wrists as one attempted a downward slash and the other a cross-cut. For a few moments they stood, shaking against each other's strength. Tenten gritted her teeth. She built up as much energy as she could.

A huge crack echoed in the field as the enemy ninja's wrists snapped.

He howled in pain and Tenten quickly swiped his wakizashi, one of her feet kicking off of his chest. She jumped back. Whipping out two green scrolls in front of her face, Tenten relaxed her shoulders; it was over.

Her opponent had no time to react as she hurled the contents of the scrolls. Nothing was heard but the sound of blade into flesh as the ninja was pinned to the base of the tree with his own swords.

Tenten sighed, a grin plastered on her face. "Mission accomplished." A cry pierced the silence before she could even gather her weapons. "Neji!"

As Tenten neared Neji's fight, she gasped. He was panting hard, there were several gashes along his sides, and she didn't need the byakugan to see that he was low on chakra. I knew Lee and I shouldn't have left him with two jounin!

One of Neji's opponents lay facedown on the ground dead. The other, whom Neji was fighting, wasn't in much better shape than Neji. He didn't have many visible wounds, but he assumed a stance similar to Tenten's whenever she got hit twenty or thirty times.

Her hand jumped to her mouth when Neji took a punch in the face. Crap! I won't make it in time!

Neji parried an uppercut and backed away. His opponent chuckled as he closed in on the chuunin. Tenten reached into her hip pouch. She gritted her teeth in irritation; she was out of weapons; the only thing she had was…It'd have to do.

"It's over kid." The ninja's voice was so prominent that Tenten had no trouble hearing what he said. "You and your little friend aren't strong enough to get this scroll from me."

The ninja snatched a fallen kunai off of the ground and attacked. The kunai was less than a foot away from Neji's head when—


An apple hit him harshly upside the head. Neji quickly hit the enemy's vital points in the mist of confusion. The man fell with a 'thud.'

Neji took the next few minutes to catch his breath as Tenten finally caught up to him. He looked from Tenten to the apple and back to Tenten.

"Neji! Are you okay?" Tenten asked. She was already at his side, examining his wounds. She seemed unfazed by the fact that her wounds we worse.

He didn't reply.

She sucked in a breath. "Neji? Are you—"

"I'm fine," Neji said, pushing her away. The look of concern on her face made him feel funny. Tenten watched as Neji walked toward and picked up the apple. "Tenten," he began.


"Why did you throw an apple?"

She laughed awkwardly, a hand scratching the back of her head. "I, um, ran out of weapons so, well…yeah."

He blinked, eyes narrowing at her. "Do you know what would happen if I was too weak to make the finishing blow? You would have been left fighting a jounin level ninja without any weapons."

She sighed. "Oh Neji, if that were to happen, I would've won anyway; he was about as fatigued as you." She eyed him. He was struggling to keep standing, and most likely to keep conscious.

"It doesn't matter," Neji said. "If you weren't carrying an apple and packed some weapons in its stead, you could have killed that ninja yourself. What if you missed when you threw that apple? I would've been killed and you would have died!" Tenten winced at his words, and there was something funny about how he said the last few.

"You're being ridiculous," Tenten replied. "It's just an apple; I always pack them on missions—"

"By doing so you were taking a chance and even jeopardizing the mission!"

"—Besides, we're both alive and we have the scroll now." She reached into the dead ninja's pocket and pulled out the scroll they were supposed to obtain. "Let's find Lee and Gai-sensei okay?"

Tenten bit her lip, fidgeting under Neji's glare. It had been a few weeks since the "apple incident" and Neji was still being a pig. "What?"

"Tenten, why would you pack an apple for training?"

She shifted uncomfortably. His gaze was intense, and it was hard to concentrate when you knew THE Hyuuga Neji was staring at you. "Well, I've been packing apples ever since we graduated. If I don't pack it during training, I'll be used to having extra weapons and that isn't good if I don't have them during a mission."

"If you didn't pack an apple to begin with, you would have those extra weapons all of the time. I told you not to pack those things anymore," Neji seethed. "They have no use on a mission. This is very bad planning from someone that has taken and passed the chuunin exams a year ago."

She sighed. The apple just HAD to fall out of her pouch in the middle of sparring. He's being so difficult! Why does it matter what I pack? He was pissed, she could tell, though for reasons unknown to her. Pfft, typical Neji.

Neji had always enjoyed smirking at people. It gave him a proud reassurance that he was right and they were wrong. It didn't really matter whether other people did it because most of the time, they had nothing to back it up.

But this time, he was irritated and he hated how it brought his attention. Tenten was smirking at him. Tenten almost never smirked and if she did, it was never directed toward him. It wasn't an "it's over; I won" kind of smirk, nor an "I just beat you" type of smirk. It was the type of smirk that showed that she had all the power, that she was right and he was wrong, and what was more was that it was true.

He watched as Tenten crossed her arms and towered over his exhausted form. "Hn." Neji narrowed his eyes. Oh hell no. She did not just 'hn' him.

"Tut, tut, tut," Tenten mused, shaking her head. "Shame on you Neji. You shouldn't be exerting yourself like this. You shouldn't have taken all twelve of those ninja; they were at least chuunin level! This is very bad behavior from someone that is going to take the jounin exams in a few weeks."

He tsked from his position at the base of the tree. He was grateful for the canopy of leaves that blocked the sun, as it was a fairly hot day. Sakura had healed his wounds but his chakra was dangerously low as he fought the urge to fall unconscious. He wasn't going to risk looking reckless in front of Sakura and Lee seeing as he was the most superior out of the whole team.

Tenten's smirk grew as she continued. "You're completely exhausted and your 'manly' pride and ego won't let you admit that to the team," she said, feigning pity. "There's at least a day's travel to Konoha and when you pass out, it'll be a bigger hit to your ego than if you admitted it."

He sighed, looking away. "What is it that you came to me for Tenten?"

"Oh, I don't know," she said. "I'm concerned and well, I have something to give to you."

Neji's eyes shot to her face. Did she have a food pill?

"It'll give you enough energy to run to Konoha and back." She squatted in front of him, and perhaps a little too close for his comfort.

"If you have something for me, stop beating around the bush and give it to me already."

"You're no fun," she chided playfully. "You want to know what it is? Well then, by all means—"

Tenten leaned closer to him. Her eyes darted from his eyes to his lips. The action made Neji instinctively look at hers; it was hard to look away. If you squinted hard enough, you could pinpoint the microscopic blush that dusted his cheeks.

Their faces were barely four inches apart when Tenten stopped moving forward. She whipped out an object from her hip pouch, placing it in between their faces. Neji blinked in surprise.



"—Have an apple."

Author's note: There you go! Another Tenji. Surprise surprise. I haven't posted for a while. Well, if you had Algebra 2, Chemistry and French midterms to study for, you wouldn't write much either…Unless you're like some sort of machine. 8th grade is such a drag. *sigh*