I really don't like the way that Tenten seems to have the least characterization out of everyone in Naruto. It may just be me, but she seems to either have little characterization or she's a 'basic' character, a person who I suppose you could call a perfect character. I wanted to make it up to her, plus I wrote a story focusing on her teammates, so I wrote this fic. It ended up much shorter than I expected, and the ending feels a bit disconnected since I kinda switched the focus of the story since I thought it would be more in-character of her. But I still feel pretty proud of this one. I just hope I did her justice.

Also, really sorry if Tenten seems out of character at all during this, or if it seems like I'm bashing her at all. I really love Tenten, she's one of my favourite characters. That's why I wanted to write this.

Disclaimer: I do not own Naruto.


Geniuses

The cold, mysterious Neji and the cheerful, enthusiastic Lee. The prodigy Hyuga and the industrious weirdo. The master of the Gentle Fist and the taijutsu specialist. The one who never loses and the one who never gives up.

...And then there was Tenten. The girl with a crazy attraction to weapons. The bun-haired one. The kunoichi on the same team as geniuses.

Neji was the genius of talent. He was born to the lesser branch of the Hyuga clan, but no Hyuga had ever had more potential. He mastered the Gentle Fist technique at half the age his cousin did. He learned secret techniques known only to the main branch simply by studying them from a distance. His Byakugan was stronger than any known Hyuga's at his age. He was the number one rookie of his year. He had never been beaten, not once, until his battle with Naruto. But after that, he never lost again. He became a chunin with ease, and then moved on to jonin soon after. He was the only one of his age group to make jonin. And he aspired to go even further. He was one of the few ninja of his age who was being considered for ANBU. Maybe even an ANBU leader later down the road. His unrivalled skill had made his future clear to all.

Lee was the genius of hard work. He was born with a defect in his chakra coils, rendering him unable to build up enough chakra to use ninjutsu or genjutsu. He was labelled as a failure because of that, but he never gave up. Eventually he was taught by Guy, focusing only on his taijutsu. His taijutsu, which had been average at best, greatly improved and soon became his specialty. His taijutsu went on to be unmatched by any but his sensei, even proving to be no match for Sasuke. But Neji would still beat him without breaking a sweat. He called him a failure, even when others stopped, so he decided to prove him wrong. He never managed to beat him, not once. But he never stopped trying. His determination was something that even Neji couldn't defeat. He moved on to chunin with some difficulty, but in the end his determination was enough to earn him the title. Although he hadn't yet become a jonin, it was obvious he would be made one soon. His skills in taijutsu and his ability to overcome all odds through sheer willpower were easily jonin level at least. He may not go on to ANBU, but he would easily be as tough an opponent. His future was an unknown, but it was obvious he would go far.

So what was she? Tenten was an orphan, her parents average ninja who had died while carrying out their duty. She was skilled with weapons. She had perfect aim. But that was all she had. The only other skill that could be boasted of was her moderate taijutsu and speed. But would she even have that if it weren't for her teammates? They were always pushing her, forcing her to keep up. Would she ever be in the lead? Would she ever be able to look back and see her teammates struggling to catch up to her?

Probably not.

On her team were two of the most gifted ninja in the Leaf Village, maybe even all five Great Nations sometime in the future. How could she possibly expect to catch up to them when all five nations couldn't?

They were geniuses. She was no one.

Guy had often told her that she was a genius, too. But in what way? He told her she would figure it out someday, but so far nothing had come to her. Perhaps she was a genius of weapons, but she could hardly grant herself that honour when she was barely an expert with them, mainly due to her good aim. Besides, weapons were all she had to distinguish herself from shinobi with no real talent. But she didn't even have a specialized weapon. All she had were kunai, shuriken, and the occasional katana or mace. Coupled with her dead-on aim it would easily seem as though she was indeed a weapons specialist.

But was she really? As soon as someone else came along with perfect aim and a specialized weapon she would be inferior. Even with her Rising Twin Dragons move, she would be barely more than a simple ninja like everyone else who was ignored or overlooked.

She was the average one. The simple one.

The forgotten one.

Her teammates would stand in the spotlight, while she faded into the crowd. Their names would be on the list of the greatest ninja in the Leaf, hers would be among the many who were simply ninja, nothing more. They would be surrounded by a crowd of cheering people, she would be alone.

Tenten didn't want to fade away. She wanted it to be her in the spotlight. She wanted her name to be among the greatest Leaf ninja. She wanted to have a crowd cheering for her. But with no talent of her own, she was nothing. A name, and only a first name at that. Her family name was forgotten, or perhaps it was never really known in the first place, so all she had was a first name to be remembered by. A name that probably belonged to many other people, perhaps ninja, who would end up being known by her name. She would merely be mistaken for them, or perhaps they would think she was named after those ninja.

The only way she would be remembered was if she found a talent of her own. Something she could be known as a genius for. But even if she did find something, she could never outshine her teammates. They would always be one step ahead of her, their talents glowing brighter than hers could ever hope to. Her soft glow would be insignificant compared to her teammates' bright radiance.

Neji and Lee had often tried to help her in their own unique ways. They both told her that she was just as important as they were, and that she would shine just as brightly. Though Tenten thanked them on the outside, she refused to believe them. How could she live up to their standards? They couldn't see how much farther ahead they were, how often they had to wait for her to catch up. They could have gone so much farther were it not for her dragging them down.

It hurt her, how far behind she was. Not only would she never be able to catch up, she was also holding them back. She was determined to find her own talent so she wouldn't have to be a burden to them. But finding one's talent is easier said than done. No matter what she tried, she was no good at anything. Her greatest skill was still her weapons, and her faith in it was declining with every passing day.

But she refused to give up. She wasn't going to just fade into nothingness, her name insignificant compared to those of her teammates. She would shine just as brightly as they, and no one would ever forget about her again.

Just you watch. Someday I'll find what I'm a genius of, and then I won't need your help; I'll be able to shine all on my own.

Maybe she would become a genius for surpassing them against all odds. Then she would no longer be in their shadows.

And I won't have to hold you back anymore.