Disclaimer - I do not own Naruto, it belongs to Masashi Kisimoto. If I did, there would be a lot more of Team Gai in there!
AN: A totally random idea that came to me while I was listening to some music. I ran down the stairs and typed it up in about ten minutes, give or take. There is a possibility of OOCness, but I tried to keep everyone in character. Set sometime after the time skip.
Warnings: Disturbing image of Neji with short hair.
Code Red: Operation Hair Rescue
After an embarrassing episode during a mission briefing, Neji decides to cut his hair. Tenten goes on a mission to stop him.
"...it should be quick and painless if it is pulled off right. However..." Tsunade paused, her eyes doing a quick survey of the team standing in front of her. "This is an undercover mission to a ball. You will need to go with dates."
"Dates?" echoed Lee, sounding surprised.
"Yes. Obviously Tenten can team up with one of you three, but as for the other girl..." Tsunade's eyes seemed to flicker suspiciously over to where Lee and Neji were standing. "We do not have any kunoichi who are able to take this mission. This particular mission requires your team's unique skills, and the only other ninja who would be able to go, Hinata, is currently resting after the wound she sustained in her last mission."
"So what are we going to do for the second girl?" asked Gai cheerfully.
"..." Tsunade hesitated a moment before seemingly making up her mind. "I was thinking Neji could masquerade as your date, Gai."
There was a moment of precious silence. Team Gai appeared to be caught completely off guard. The seconds ticked by. More silence. More disbelief. Tsunade suppressed the urge to fidget, mentally asking for the explosion to come quickly. More silence. And then...
Neji's roar sounded through the entire room.
Tsunade gingerly uprighted a figurine that had been placed on her desk earlier. "I realize that this is not the most comfortable situation for you, Hyuuga..." she began.
"I refuse!" Neji interrupted. His pearl eyes flashed furiously as he showed more emotion then Tsunade had ever seen him display before. "I will not do something so humiliating!"
"And besides," said Tenten urgently. "I was going to pick him as my date!"
There was another moment of awkward silence as Tenten realized what she had said and blushed slightly.
"Because we work well together!" she stammered, stumbling over her words as she valiantly tried to ease the tension in the room. "We work better together then I do with Lee or Gai!"
"Why don't we just shave off Lee's eyebrows and dress him as a girl?" snapped Neji.
"I would gladly sacrifice my magnificent brows for the sake of this mission!"
"Besides, what makes you think I could pass off as a girl anyway!" demanded Neji angrily. "I don't look anything like a girl!"
Tsunade's face contorted with a look that was a cross between amusement and frustration. "You have more delicate features then Lee does," she pointed out. Before Neji could open his mouth, she hurried on, "You also have more experience in etiquette than the ladies there are required to know. And also you have long hair. Lee doesn't."
"What does my hair have to do with this!" raged Neji. "My hair is not in the least bit girly!"
Tsunade rubbed her forehead. "I'll tell you what. I'll double-check my lists and make sure there's not another girl out there who can accompany your team as Gai's date, alright?"
The murderous intent surrounding Neji heightened considerably.
Tsunade ran over her words in her mind. "I mean ninja!" she corrected herself suddenly. "Another ninja! Not another girl, cause obviously you're not..." she paused. "You're dismissed. I'll talk with the four of you soon."
"I do not look like a girl!" muttered Neji angrily.
"Of course you don't," Tenten said soothingly.
"Just because I have long hair does not mean I look like a girl."
"You do not look like a girl, even though you have long hair."
"Plenty of guys have long hair."
"Yes they do. It's just..." Tenten cut herself off quickly.
Neji's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Just what?"
"It's just that your hair is so perfect!" Tenten burst out. "It's so straight, and clean, and shiny. It looks so soft, and it's always perfect, even after a fight! You never have to fight with it, and it smells good, and it looks so amazing! All the girls are jealous of your hair! All my hair does when I let it down is poof up like a bush, and I can never control it! You have to come to one of our slumber parties and give the girls some tips on how you do your hair!"
Tenten gulped nervously. "I mean, you should never ever ever ever ever go to one of our slumber parties. It's very unmanly, and you are a very masculine gir...guy! A very masculine guy!"
Neji stared at her for a moment, his expression blank. "I think I'm going to cut my hair."
You could have heard one of Shino's bugs crawling along the wall.
"What? No! You can't do that! Your hair is perfect!"
Neji looked at Tenten. "I'm going to go look for the nearest barber," he stated, before turning and stalking off.
Tenten stared after him, horrified at the misfortune she had caused.
Lee and Gai were very nearly bowled over by Tenten when she raced by them only seconds later.
"O Youthful Flower of Team Gai, where are you going?" shouted Lee.
"To get backup!" called Tenten, not bothering to turn around.
Lee looked nonplussed. He turned back to his sensei. "Backup for what?
Tenten raced madly through Konoha, looking desperately for the two girls that she knew would be able to turn everything right.
She spotted the two of them having a quarrel in the park not far from the Academy.
"Sakura! Ino!" shouted Tenten as she dashed towards the two girls.
"Tenten!" cried Ino, waving her hand eagerly.
Tenten screeched to a halt in front of the two, panting. "I...help...you...stop...Neji...emergency...need...help..."
"What?" Sakura sat up hurriedly. "Is Neji hurt? Does he need a medic?"
"I'll get help right away," added Ino, standing up.
Tenten shook her head viciously. "It's worse then that!"
"What's wrong?" asked Sakura.
"Neji's going to cut his hair!"
The two girls gasped in unison.
"WHAT?" shrieked Ino. "He can't do that! Neji has the most perfect hair in the Land of Fire!"
"Neji has the most perfect hair in all the lands!" Sakura looked frazzled as she stared in horrified terror.
"I know!" Tenten said, exasperated.
"But then why is he cutting it?"
"Well, Tsunade was like 'we need another girl,' and Neji said 'I don't look girly,' and I told him 'you have perfect hair,' and he stormed off saying 'I'm finding a barber.'"
"Well, what are we waiting for?" broke in Ino. "Let's go save Neji's hair!"
"It was the most humiliating moment of my life!" declared Neji angrily, leaning against the counter.
"I feel for you man, I really do," said Kiba sympathetically. "Mind you, I've never been told I looked like a girl before, but I can just imagine how it would feel. Kind of. Not really, but I still feel for you."
Neji tried to glare at him, but ended up shaking his head. "I don't get why Hokage-sama seems to think my hair makes me look girly." Kiba opened his mouth to retort, but Neji waved his hand in his face. "Don't answer that. Recommend any barbers?"
"Look, Neji," began Kiba. "It's not that you look girly, it's just that you don't look manly with your hair that long. Girls prefer guys who are the epitome of masculinity. They don't dig guys with long hair like yours. You'll never get a girlfriend that way."
Neji was about to respond when what looked to be a herd of stampeding elephants suddenly charged his way.
"NEJI!" A lithe form flung itself on top of Neji, scrambling desperately to reach his head.
"What the..." Kiba stared.
"Tenten! Is it still there?" asked Sakura breathlessly as she stopped.
"Hurry up and look Tenten!" squawked Ino.
"I'm trying," exclaimed Tenten, clawing at Neji's head as she dragged his loose ponytail around.
She examined it quickly, taking in his bangs that hung dangerously close to his eyes and the band that barely held his hair together.
There was a moment of terrifying anticipation.
"It's all there!" announced Tenten triumphantly.
Sakura and Ino cheered, giving each other a high five.
Neji looked bewildered. "Wha...?"
"You idiot!" yelled Tenten, as she suddenly started shaking Neji angrily. "I can't believe you almost cut your hair off!"
"You wouldn't be you anymore if you had!" she continued furiously.
Neji nearly fell off his stool as Tenten suddenly launched herself onto him, pressing her lips to his with the force of a woman about to lose her lover.
Akamaru whined while Kiba stared, puzzled by this turn of events.
Tenten pulled herself away from Neji who appeared to be frozen in shock.
"Don't you ever cut your hair, Neji!" she ordered. With a sniff, whether one of relief or triumph, neither guy would ever be able to tell, Tenten turned, stalking away with the grinning Sakura and Ino following her.
Neji and Kiba remained petrified in their seats.
Slowly, Kiba turned to Neji, who glanced at him. "I'm never cutting my hair," said Neji confidently.
Kiba nodded slowly. The two remained silent for a few minutes before Kiba ventured to ask, "Oi, Neji. What do you think I would look like with long hair?"
Please review and tell me what you thought! You'll get a kiss from a very handsome long-haired Hyuuga Neji if you do! (Make sure Tenten doesn't see you though!)